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Welcome to the 75th Down Under Feminists’ Carnival


Hello, and welcome to a world full of fantastic feminist writing from the month of July.  Before you rush off to get your drink of choice (a nice cup of tea would be my recommendation) and sit back to enjoy writing by Australian and New Zealand feminists, I want to beg you to host a carnival yourself.  The Down Under Feminists’ Carnival desperately needs new hosts from October 2014 onwards.  Don’t think that it is a monumental job, I and others will provide you with links to lots of great posts, you just need to detail them with as much (or as little) information as you like.  Some hosts just provide the author’s name and the blog title as a clickable link, others categorise them, and some put summaries about what the post is all about.  You put them together as you feel most appropriate to your time and energy.  So now that I’ve encouraged you to host a carnival, please wander over to the Down Under Feminists Carnival website or email chally [dot] zeroatthebone [at] gmail [dot] com and say you want to host, and your availability.

And on with the carnival.

Feminism

Skud writes at Geek Feminism, “Dropping the F bomb“:

It felt good, at first, to be in a group of tech women who had similar experiences to me. Yet, when I started to talk about feminist issues — mentioning sexism in the wider open source or tech community, for instance — I was shut down. I was essentially asked to leave the channel and go somewhere else if I wanted to talk about that stuff. Better yet, it was the project’s male community manager — men were allowed in this channel — who took it upon himself to push me out of that space, and who still continues to this day to shut down feminist discussion in communities that he leads.

Clementine Ford at Daily Life writes, “So you want to be ‘beautiful’ instead of ‘hot’?

But there are few greater mysteries that perplex the female mind than the elusive riddle of beauty. Specifically, who has it and what does it mean? Specificallyer, what makes a woman beautiful instead of just hot? The world’s greatest lady philosopheresses have pondered this for literally thousands of years or maybe even two seconds and been unable to provide a definitive answer.

Until now.

Alex Skud Bailey rewrites Google’s apology regarding their real name policy in, “Meanwhile, in an alternate universe…“:

We apologise unreservedly to those people, who through our actions were marginalised, denied access to services, and whose identities we treated as lesser. We especially apologise to those who were already marginalised, discriminated against, or unsafe, such as queer youth or victims of domestic violence, whose already difficult situations were worsened through our actions. We also apologise specifically to those whose accounts were banned, not only for refusing them access to our services, but for the poor treatment they received from our staff when they sought support.

Eliza Cussen writes at Fix It Dear Henry, “Who holds back the electric car? White Ribbon does.“:

Women don’t need to be told the questions men need to ask themselves about violence. We don’t need to be told how many of us are being killed by our partners or exes. We don’t need to be told because either the reality of it, or the potential of it is part of the female experience.

Both O’Keefe and Pickering wrote their pieces as part of their role as White Ribbon Australia ambassadors. This is an exclusive boy’s club. I can only imagine they have poker nights to which no women are invited. In the lead up to White Ribbon Day in November each year, these men are trotted out, promising to start a dialogue between men about the culture that permits violence against women. This is a good thing.

However…

Eleanor Robertson writes at Comment is Free at the Guardian, “Tackling the gender gap is simple: pay women more money. End of story“:

Here it is: we simply pay women more money. Whether we do this by reducing women’s tax burden, providing them with an income supplement, or allowing women to personally shake down their male colleagues until an appropriate amount of change falls from their pockets, I don’t mind. But it’s clear that sitting around furrowing our brows isn’t working, so it’s time to make some changes.

Alex Skud Bailey provides slide decks and notes on the talks she delivered at Open Source Bridge, including Knitting for Programmers, Feminist Point of View: A Geek Feminist Retrospective and “Advanced” Community Management.

Judy Horacek writes, “This Creative Life No.2 – July 2014“:

I have often said that I became a cartoonist to try and change the world. I mean this as a true statement, but also as a slightly tongue-in-cheek one. Much as I would like cartoons to be all-powerful – to believe that the pen is indeed mightier than the sword, and the missile and the drone – well, just take a look at the world…

What the ‘change-the-world’ statement boils down to is that I became a cartoonist because I care deeply about certain things such as social justice, feminism, the environment. These are the things I like to make cartoons about. Of course I also do silly jokes that are about nothing, but my first love is making cartoons commenting on our society and our world.

Kelly Ellis guest posts at the Daily Blog, “GUEST BLOG: Kelly Ellis – Privilege Lost“:

I learned I was now an alien. I learned that the social contract men had was different from the one for women. I learned that male privilege was not a free ticket to the footie or a free upsize on a Mac Meal; male privilege is simply the freedom from prejudice that everyone else gets for not being a man.

Marianne Elliot guest posts at Justine Musk with, “I don’t care if you like it (guest post by Marianne Elliott)“:

Last year I spent most of five months travelling through the US, Canada and Europe talking about my book, ZEN UNDER FIRE. At almost every book talk I gave, someone would ask me, ‘Weren’t you afraid to be in Afghanistan, such a dangerous country for women?’

My standard answer was that all countries are dangerous for women.

Allison M writes at The Hand Mirror, “Pat Rosier and Who We Remember“:

As Prue writes, Pat’s early life was relatively conventional. Her dad was a railway clerk, and she grew up at a time when no one in a working class family, “let alone a girl”, went to university. She married, had two children and trained as primary teacher, which was her job from 1973 to 1985. Then, something happened. Pat found Simone de Beauvoir, the Women’s Liberation Movement, lesbianism – and reinvented herself.

Pat chronicled at least part of that reinvention in the 1991 collection, Changing Our Lives: Women Working in the Women’s Liberation Movement, 1970-1990 (eds Christine Dann & Maud Cahill, Bridget Williams Books).

Orlando writes at Hoyden About Town, “Friday Hoyden quick hit: Linda Brodsky“:

Dr Linda Brodsky was an American paediatric ear, nose and throat surgeon. In the 90s, having become a tenured professor at SUNY Buffalo, she discovered she was being paid far less than male colleagues, many with less seniority and fewer qualifications. On further investigation she found that the same was true of her pay from her medical employers, and that it applied to other women working in the same institutions. When she attempted to have the disparities addressed she was fired. Dr Brodsky spent years suing her employers, not only on her own behalf, but to help ensure that other women would not be treated the same way. She was aware that the privileges she had put her in the rare position of being able to fight, and thus made it a moral obligation.

I wrote a piece called, “Let’s try with some empathy“:

How about instead of telling someone how they should react to something, you think a bit about why they might be reacting that way, how constant microaggressions might have worn them down, and how this might have been the final straw after they’ve been polite to everyone else whose pushed them down that day/week/month/year.  Think about how they might actually see the thing that you said or wrote, and how that might look from their position.  Actually apologise for upsetting them and then invite them to tell you what you can do to avoid upsetting them again in future – because people generally want to avoid having their feet stepped on, they will often provide you with suggestions resources on how your organisation or yourself can be more inclusive, open, and less upsetting.

Media and Stories

Clementine Ford at Daily Life writes, “The two most complained about TV ads of 2014“, which I’m mostly sharing for the First Moon Party ad, it’s the best:

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.

But then the feminists took over, and everything changed. Now we’re forced to endure grotesque advertisements which mention heathen words like ‘vagina’, ‘tampons’ and ‘hole’. The top two most complained about advertisements of 2014 so far were created for Carefree.

Zhenya at beyond escapism writes, “Always already perfect: beauty and female characters in fantasy books” (Zhenya also has a number of great book reviews at her blog too):

But there’s another feature that’s missing from this list, at least when it comes to the major female characters in fantasy. I’ve written about this before, but today I felt a Need to Vent, and in any case I think this is a topic that deserves a post of its own. It’s time to talk about beauty – or more specifically, the way that beauty is pretty much compulsory for the major female characters in a fantasy novel.

Anna at Flaming Moth writes, “Macbeth, Prophesy and Trauma“:

Lady Macbeth, for example, is less and more than she has been given credit for. When, in lines that fix themselves in the listener’s memory, she tells her husband that she would kill her own child if she had sworn to do so, it has usually been read as a mark of her callousness, forgetting that her point is that this is the most horrifying thing she can think of doing. When she asks for the help of dark powers, rather than demonstrating her fiendishness, she shows her vulnerability by revealing to us that she doesn’t have the necessary resolve to perform evil deeds without them. Immediately after Duncan’s murder she even admits, privately, that she was not capable of bringing herself to do it.

gillpolak writes, “On the suppression and bastardisation of minority voices“:

The writers who tell me that they are entitled to write about any story in the world bug me. These are the writers who claim that the artist has privilege of story regardless of culture and regardless of understanding and regardless of permissions and regardless of power differentials. I’ve been trying to explain to them that writing is never culturally neutral and that there are ethics involved. I’ve said that cultural appropriation is not a good thing and tried to explain why. I’ve said many things. Some writers listen and learn respect. Some writers seem to have a selective deafness, quite possibly arising from their culturally privileged background.

Scarlett Harris at The Scarlett Woman writes, “Leaning In to Grey’s Anatomy” (Spoiler Alert):

Across its ten season run, Grey’s has dealt with parenting, childlessness, abortion, romantic relationships—both heterosexual and otherwise, illness, loss, friendship and career mostly through the eyes of its female protagonist, Meredith Grey, and her colleagues, friends and family: Cristina, Izzie, Lexie, Callie, Arizona, April, Addison, Bailey and so on. This season, though, seemed to really tap into the oft-mentioned feminist issue of “having it all” (meaning kids and career) and what happens when a woman shuns that path.

Sky Croeser writes at Global Comment, “Maleficent: an anarchafeminist fairytale?“:

I’ll start off with the news that will surprise no one. Maleficent is overwhelmingly white: the only notable role for a non-white character is a captain sent out to destroy Maleficent, played by John Macmillan. Beauty is not only glaringly white, but also thin and conventionally attractive (notwithstanding augmented cheekbones). Disney is obviously not brave enough to explore a world that includes people of colour and unconventionally beautiful people as protagonists, even if that world is populated by walking trees and fairies.

And now for the surprise: Maleficent felt like a credible anarchafeminist fairytale (especially if you consider the whiteness of the film to mirror, sadly, the frequent failures of anarchist and feminist communities to fully address the ongoing impacts of structural racism).

No Award went to the movies and saw Snowpiercer.  Liz wrote about it here, “No Award goes to the movies: Snowpiercer” and Stephanie here, “snowpiercer: the revolution cannot be trusted if it’s white“.  Both great reviews  looking at different aspects of the movies, and not agreeing on it at all.

Kerryn Goldsworthy guest posts at Hoyden About Town with, “Every Australian Novel Ever!“.  It’s funny, you really want to read it.

Politics

Rachel at the Abyss of Perfect Knowledge writes, “Dear Australian Liberal National Party“:

It is obvious you kept this stereotype of “the ideal Australian LNP voting family” in mind when you ignored the fact that 719,700 Australians were unemployed in May 2014. You kept this stereotype in mind when you ignored the fact that there were only 146,100 job vacancies in Australia during May 2014. It looks to me like the numbers don’t exactly add up. You kept this stereotype at the forefront of your minds when you ignored the fact that 2,265,000 Australians are living below the poverty line. My family falls below this line.

My family is my mother. She works two jobs, seven days per week and still does not earn enough from her jobs to pay rent, bills and living costs. Unlike your stereotype of drinking, partying hard and going to music festivals I give most of the money I receive from Centrelink (i.e. taxpayers) to my mother so I can continue to live at home. She would not be able to keep me at home without this money.

Ebs at The Travelling Unicorn writes, “To be black is to be political“:

The judgment happened when I met a certain community member last night. She looked me up and down when she was introduced me and with a critical eye said “I’ve never met you before”. I politely brushed it off but fact of the matter is, I’ve met her a million times over.

Like many blackfellas, my moderate and sometimes uncontroversial public demeanor means that I am passed off as just another white claiming heritage, when in reality, I know who I am, I know who you are and I am careful as fuck around you.

Why? Because despite your immense intelligence and connection to certain parts of my community, you are a ticking time bomb. A lateral violence molotov cocktail that is just waiting for me to fuck up so you can discredit me in any circles that you can.

Veronica Sheen writes at The Conversation, “Ten job seekers per vacancy: a reality check on welfare overhaul“:

The overall unemployment rate is now 6%, and 13.5% for 15-24 year olds. In May there were 146,000 job vacancies with 720,000 people unemployed. Another 920,000 were underemployed and wanting more hours of work. Underemployment is a very important labour market indicator as, under the terms of internationally agreed labour statistics collection, an individual is counted as employed if working one hour a week for pay or profit.

Altogether, these figures mean 1.64 million people who have no work or not enough work are potentially competing for available job vacancies.

Ariane at Ariane’s Little World writes, “Musings on Radical Inclusion“:

The idea of radical inclusion seems both wonderful and deeply problematic to me. On the one hand, this principle is probably 90% of the reason I decided to go. It’s very clear that I don’t have to already be part of the community to welcomed by it. That’s awesome. But when I start to think about the implications of being truly radically inclusive, that pesky “other hand” gives me trouble. To be inclusive, and to welcome people, implies that the space is safe and accessible for those people. To be inclusive and welcoming to everyone implies a space is safe and accessible to everyone, and I’m not entirely sure that such a space can actually exist, even in theory.

Stephanie at No Award writes, “things your government has been doing“:

UGH, AUSPOL. Why must you be the blurst? Anyway, to keep you up to date on reasons to hate our federal government, here’s a summary of some things over the last week. Don’t worry, there’s more.

LGBTIQ

Rebecca Shaw writes at SBS, “Comment: Opponents of same-sex parenting are part of the problem“:

In this week’s ‘news that is shocking to nobody except for those who blindly ignore logic and reason because of ideology’, a study from researchers at the University of Melbourne has found that children of same-sex couples do just as well as children with heterosexual parents, and are, in fact, above-average on a number of key measures of physical health and social well-being.

The research surveyed 315 same-sex attracted parents with a total of 500 children aged up to 17 years old. Lead researcher Dr Simon Crouch attributed the positive differences to same-sex couples facing less pressure to fulfill ‘traditional’ gender roles, leading to a more equitable distribution of child-care and work responsibilities, which contributes to a more harmonious household and a positive impact on the children’s health.

Rainbow Lotus at Signposts and Mirrors writes, “Bi-activism and Sisyphus“:

For some years now I’ve been involved in a local bi community, and have been on the committee of an organisation which provides support and engages in raising bi-visibility.

I am increasingly feeling like the proverbial Sisyphus because not only does it feel like that we are continually having to stick our hand up to say, ‘don’t forget about us’ within the LGbTI (lower case ‘b’ intentional, see this post) communities, but I also feel like there is a lack of willingness to stand up and be engaged by those who identify as ‘b’ or otherwise attracted to more than one gender.

Rebecca Shaw writes at Brocklesnitch, “Thorplease“:

Ian Thorpe and I are almost exactly the same age, give or a take a few weeks. In 2000 when we were both 17, we were in slightly different places. I was at home in my regional Queensland town of Toowoomba, watching the Sydney Olympics with my family. At the same time, he was becoming the most successful athlete at those Olympics, and the most talked about person in Australia. A lot of this talk was admiration for his amazing achievements in swimming, but another part of it was discussion about his sexuality. About the way he talked, his voice, his soft-spoken way, and the fact that maybe he was gay. That he probably was gay. In the following years he was asked about his sexuality over and over again. It was discussed in the media, and by the public (don’t kid yourselves), constantly. And he was forced to answer the question, over and over again. And he chose to deny it. Until now. For whatever reason, he has decided to go on television and make it final, to tell us for once and for all that he is not heterosexual.

Rebecca Shaw also writes at Kings Tribune this month with, “Queer women and straight men“:

This could be a cynical conclusion to draw, but this issue was not invented by Tinder and is certainly not restricted to Tinder. At least on Tinder you can just swipe away the problem without being approached. There are plenty of other apps where queer women are inundated with messages from men attempting to convince them that they just need a man.

The issue is not even restricted to the Internet. In the year of our Beyoncé 2014, the mindset of some straight men that you encounter online, within apps, out in the real world and in a lot movies is STILL that lesbians are just waiting for the right man to come along. Women can’t possibly be satisfied emotionally or sexually with only each other. The patriarchy benefits straight men the most, and some of them are bewildered and scared by the thought that women can somehow get along without them.

Jay Aaminah Khan writes at days like crazy paving, “So You Just Met a Bisexual: a Guide for Allies (and “Allies”)“:

Congratulations! You just met your very first bisexual! Isn’t it exciting? I’m sure you’re brimming with questions about everything from your new friend’s sex life to whether or not it’s true that they’re invisible. (They are. All bisexuals have the ability to disappear whenever they like.) Before you draw up a list and start the interrogation, however, let me preempt a few of the questions you’re most likely to ask – and explain to you why you probably ought not ask them.

Elizabeth writes at Spilt Milk, “Queer mothering in a straight world: AMIRCI Conference Paper“:

For the first four years of my daughter’s life I was, to the casual observer, a straight woman. That is to say that for her formative years, our family fit the social norm. Her family structure — mum, dad, kid — was represented in almost every picture book, almost every television programme, and was replicated in almost all of the suburban homes around her. Our family was visible, in that we were allowed to be seen anywhere, and invisible in that we appeared so normal as to be entirely unremarkable. And like so many couples, we were afforded a level of comfort that we took for granted even as it demanded a certain amount of silence about how very unhappy we were.

Indigenous peoples

Celeste Liddle writes at The Guardian, “We must remember Indigenous warriors who fought war itself” *TW: Rape*

As Paul Daley wrote on Monday, getting the war memorial and the public to acknowledge the frontier wars is difficult enough. Within the story of frontier conflict though, we need to remember so much more. If we don’t, we risk neglecting our true history – especially the trials of women, many of whom have descendants alive today.

We need to remember those women who carried out resistance actions, such as the “howling hideous old hag” Colonel Peter Warburton’s party captured during their exploration of Victoria. This woman deliberately led Warburton’s party in the opposite direction to native wells, dehydrating them and their camels for two days, and also keeping them away from local clans.

Bree Blakeman writes at Field Notes & Footnotes, “Rest in Peace Amala.“:

Rest in Peace amala, my old Mummy, who always told me that I didn’t treat my husband right, whose company I adored. (If one could explain the art of witty, acerbic conversation in Yolŋu-matha, and the skilful play on words, switching across and back between languages.) Countless hours together in company under the mango tree, weaving, talking, smoking and drinking tea (and amala would often break into song, so quietly, half facing away). She taught my dhuway what it meant to be a son-in-law and he duly avoided her as his mokul, sending gifts and care through his galay, my brothers and sisters. She was my amala and I was her waku.

Celeste Liddle writes at Rantings of an Aboriginal Feminist, “On diverse views of Constitutional Recognition“:

Part of the reason the discussion on Constitutional Recognition is being held is that sections of the constitution were written specifically to exclude Indigenous people. This is evident from the race power that it includes; the amendment of which has been recommended by the expert panel. Therefore, a question arising from sections of the community is this: do we wish this historical example of institutionalised racism to be rectified simply by our inclusion within the constitution, or are there other moves that we should take to ensure that we are coming to the table as respected original peoples and negotiating the way forward for this country on equal footing?

Celeste Liddle also provided a series of profiles as an alternative to the Miss Naidoc titles, guest posted by many different authors, I will link to them all: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13.  Celeste’s explanation for the Ms Naidoc profiles is, “Stuff “Miss NAIDOC”. Bring on the first annual “Ms NAIDOC”!

Bodies and body image

Clem Bastow at Daily Life writes, “Prince Fielder: why everyone is talking about this naked male athlete“:

This is why representation is so important: if you can see it, you can be it. And in this case, “it” doesn’t necessarily mean “a pinup”, but when your body type is not only rarely seen in mainstream media, but on the occasion it is seen it’s played for laughs, it’s not hard to imagine that seeing a bigger dude a) reach the top of his game and b) have praise heaped on him as a newly minted sex symbol is a big deal. For the rest of us, it’s cause to stop for a moment and wonder how much of what we think (or “know”) is attractive is down to what the media tells us is so.

Chally writes at Zero at the Bone, “Being ill when you’re already ill“:

I’m ill. It’s what I think of as “normal person sick,” a fever, a cough, sneezing, and weakness that’s keeping me in bed and from my usual routine. It’s not pleasant in and of itself, but it is pleasant to be able to explain this and get instant understanding and sympathy, because I’m rather used to questions and justifications as a person with a chronic illness. You don’t have to explain “normal sick”. You don’t have to rely on someone accepting that you’re not just being lazy or exaggerating.

Kath at Fat Heffalump, writes, “No Fat Chicks“:

Firstly, most of you already know, I’m a fat chick.  I’m also a single fat chick.  Apparently, being a fat chick is a BAD THING.  The author of the blog/book, Adrienne Santos-Longhurst says that she is offering “the no BS guide to dating with confidence for the plus size girl” – so let me just get this right.  Being a plus size girl is ok, but being a fat chick is not.  Indeed, that is what she says at the top of the page… “If you let your size dictate how and who you date then YOU, my dear, are a Fat Chick.”

Sexism

Brianna Doolan at Lip Mag writes, “masculinism and the ‘f’ word: a terrifying tale in modern discourse“:

An Broc claims that feminism has an inherent misandry (the hatred of men) and that it perpetuates the idea that ‘all men are rapists, all men are wicked and there’s this big evil patriarchy which never existed in history…feminism tends to demonise all men and holds all men guilty for the crimes of a few.’

Alternatively he believes in a concept called ‘feminin-ism’, a novel idea of a woman who identifies as a feminist but wants to know how to protect herself.

Maeve Marsden writes at Daily Life, “Just for Laughs: the world’s favourite comedy festival has no room for women“:

This morning I got an email from the Sydney Opera House informing me that I could buy tickets to “the world’s favourite comedy festival.” I love comedy, I thought. Indeed, I perform comedy. This is the festival for me!

Except it isn’t.

Like so many comedy festivals, events, open mic nights and variety shows, ‘Just for Laughs’ has just announced an exclusively male line up. Now, I’m not saying that Bill Bailey, Trevor Noah, Rhys Darby, Jim Gaffigan and Dave Thornton aren’t funny, I am just completely fed up with the exclusion of women in Australian comedy.

Scuba Nurse at The Hand Mirror writes, “Shouting from water skis“:

Sometimes being a woman in a male dominated field feels a bit like trying to teach from water-skis.
No, water-skis are not the best platform to teach from.

Race and Racism

Yassmin writes at Redefining the Narrative, “Are you worried about the European elections?“:

The recent European Union elections have given a legitimate seat to quite a few far right parties, prompting questions around where this level of extremism is coming from, and to what end it is leading?

The Huffpost reports on some of the most extreme, including the Dutch party which wants to rid the country of Moroccans (who were ironically brought in by the Dutch themselves to bolster their workforce), a group in Hungary who want all Jews to sign a register (sound familiar?) and a number of strongly anti-immigration and anti-European parties across the continent.

It is extremely disappointing to see such strong levels of hatred, downright racism and homophobic rhetoric coming out of so called ‘civilised’ nations.  We have been frustrated in Australia with the level of anti-asylum seeker language, but it hasn’t reached the levels of mainland Europe and the Tea Party across the pond.  Where is this all coming from, why is it so and how can we tackle it?

Family

Shae at Freerange in Suburbia writes, “Awkward“:

The other Mum cocks her head to the side, looks back at the team, looks back at me and has a face that says I’m confused. She is silent.

That’s all it takes for my must-I-be-having-this-conversation-and-it’s-sure-not-to-go-well-and-I’m-destined-to-be-the-weirdo-again brain to decide I should just jump in. Let’s get it over with. GO.

“She’s not in school uniform because she doesn’t go to school. That is we home educate. She’s the same age as these girls though and even knows one of them from her sister’s ballet”. This all spills out in one breath and without punctuation. I’m kind of spewing forth this info at the poor woman.

Shae at Freerange in Suburbia also writes, “This is Willow. She loves sharks.“:

Her other big passion, aside from ballet and Monster High dolls, is SHARKS. Willow loves sharks. Particularly Great White Sharks. We have borrowed every shark book from the library at least twice, watched all the docos and browsed a lot of you tube. Willow loves them so much that on our recent trip to Seaworld she stared into the tank, sighed, and asked “do you think they’re happy in there?” rather than being pumped to see them up close. She has a big heart.

She is worried the numbers of great white shark, and others, are in decline. She wants to know why practices like shark netting, shark culls and killing sharks for fin soup are still allowed. She has concern for the health of the ocean where her favorite animals live.

Penguin unearthed writes, “Oral History“:

Tui used to love to imitate his father, Henry Haswell, when he was in full flight complaining about his dinner table. To tell the story, my dad started putting on the accent of Henry Haswell and quoting him – who apparently had the scottish accent common to the people in their part of New Zealand at the time (Henry’s parents were part of the great Nova Scotian migration to northern New Zealand in the 1850s).

So my father was imitating the voice of a man who died more than a hundred years ago, which had been passed on to him by his father, via Tui. It is quite amazing to see oral history in action like that.

Violence – Trigger warnings for all posts in this section

Scarlett Harris writes at The Scarlett Woman, “Walk A Mile in Their Shoes.“:

From here the conversation turned to domestic violence victims and, as we oft hear, “why they just don’t leave” and that “there would have to be some evidence of years of abuse” when victims are pushed to the brink and end up murdering their abusers. By this point I was livid and held myself back from saying what I am about to type lest I damage my at-arms-length but daily relationship with these people: intimate partner violence doesn’t just happen out of the blue. It’s not like one day your loving, equal partner snaps and hits you and that’s it: you leave them (although I’m sure there are a small amount of cases like this, the vast majority of abusers have a pattern of behaviour prior that results in violence).

Liz Barr at No Award writes, “Power, abuse, fandom“:

Is the internet safe for kids?  AHAHAHAHA NO.  And I’m not here to tell people with real, actual children how to supervise them online.  I just have a cat, and I can assure you that he’s not allowed on the internet without an adult human present.

But here’s the thing: fans create fan work, and some of these artefacts are problematic in terms of their sexualised portrayal of children.

Kath at Fat Heffalump writes, “I Stand With Shakesville“:

The truth is, there are lots of things you can do.  Start by believing women who talk about this abuse and harassment.  Help by saying clearly and publicly “This is wrong. This has to stop.”  Signal boost when women write about the abuse and harassment they face.  When other people make excuses about the abuse and harassment women deal with, challenge them.  Tell them it is not acceptable to minimise or excuse the abuse and harassment.  Campaign online platforms like Twitter, Tumblr, Facebook, and any others to put in adequate security for their users – proper block functions, well moderated abuse reporting systems, clear anti-abuse terms of service requirements and strong anti-hacking/spam systems.  If you know a woman who is being harassed/abused online, listen to her when she needs to vent.  Ask her if she’s OK and if there are any ways you can help.  Often just knowing someone cares and is listening is the thing that is least expressed.  Support her if she goes to the authorities to report it.  Document anything you receive by being associated with her.

tigtog writes at Hoyden About Town, “Procedure Fail: WisCon, Feminism and Safe Spaces“:

Readers who are already part of SF fandom have probably seen a lot of this WisCon 38 fallout already, and there is a great deal of related/background reading that might seem daunting to those anyone who hasn’t heard about this at all (I certainly haven’t read everything myself), but this situation is worth people outside SFF reading about because one of the major revelations that has come to light about how/why this was mishandled so badly was that decision-makers were not made aware of nor did they factcheck all relevant information before reaching their decision: precedents regarding a similar situation at a different convention in recent years that was mishandled in a way that should have made WisCon more alert to avoidable mistakes,  past accusations/confessions against/from the accused, details of reports from accusers in this situation not conveyed, the accused was given further followup and input into the final decision but the accusers were not, and claims about legal obligations made by the accused have since been revealed to be false. Since this sort of institutional memory-holing of relevant history regarding serial harassers and non-transparency of procedures to the accusers is precisely the sort of social convention that serial harassers rely upon in order to keep getting away with what they do, alongside the fallacy that harassers are obvious deviants who could never be part of my well-ordered community (when in fact they are commonly those with the well-liked/respected status to be given the benefit of the doubt when/if reports are made against them), it’s worth reading about the mistakes of communities with which one isn’t familiar so that one can learn about patterns to watch out for and procedural standards which need to be known and practised by decision-makers.

Mindy at Hoyden About Town writes, “Today in someone is wrong on the internet“:

Clicking through my favourite feminist blogs this morning I came across an interesting comment left by well lets call him Alphaboy (naturally on a post that had nothing whatsoever to do with his comment). Alphaboy (not his real name) is very concerned about throat cancers. Not just any throat cancer but ones caused by Human Papillomavirus (HPV). Not just any throat cancers caused by HPV but specifically the ones in men. (Can you see where this is heading? [ha! unintentional pun]).  HPV throat cancers are believed to be primarily caused by oral sex.

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