Well technically it’s posts relating to feminism from December 2016, but let’s celebrate the end of that dumpster fire of a year and hope that we can find the strength and love to fight the creeping fascism around our region and the world for this year. May all our favourite celebrities, friends and family members live at least another 5+ years and we get all the cuddly animal love that we want.
If you enjoy this collection of feminist+ posts from around Australia and New Zealand AND think it might be cool to host yourself, please volunteer. Hosting is actually quite easy, I and other people will send you quite a few blog posts for inclusion, and all you need is a bit of time to list them and a blog in which to include them. Some of us might even loan you our blogs if you don’t have one of your own, but are interested in putting one of these carnivals together. We can talk about that later. Information is available here on how to volunteer.
Without further volunteers the carnival, which has been going for a long time, will fail, so please form an orderly queue and volunteer. It’s fun, interesting, and not a lot of work. Volunteers are needed from the end of this month (January 2016) onwards.
Thanks to Chally, Ana, Mary and Jessica for sending through submissions for this month.
To the carnival!
The ACL were fire bombed, and then they weren’t and Chrys Stevenson wrote about it at the Stirrer, “ACL Perverting The Truth“:
Shelton blamed left-wing politicians and activists for inciting the ‘attack’. Our sin? Accurately describing an organisation which dedicates millions of dollars and the vast majority of its time towards attacking the LGBTIQ community as a ‘hate group’.
What has since transpired is that the ACL’s building was not “rammed”. The vehicle appears to have been parked neatly outside in a parking bay.
Nor was it ‘attacked’. After speaking to the driver and his family, Federal Police confirmed the incident was neither politically, religiously, nor ideologically motivated.
“Cartoonist” Bill Leak attempted to draw yet another cartoon vilifying the LGBTIQ+ community in Australia, and it made little sense. Rebecca Shaw attempted to explain it to us at SBS, “A lesbian tries to figure out what the heck Bill Leak’s latest cartoon is about“:
Ah yes. Get it? Perfectly clear. You see everyone, there is a gay boat. I would say ‘gay cruise’ because that is much more funny and clever, but I highly doubt Bill Leak knows about cruising, considering the only depiction of gay men he seems to know is based entirely on the Gimp from Pulp Fiction.
Tyrone Unsworth suicided in November 2016 and Rebecca Shaw penned this thoughtful post some days later. “Tyrone.“:
There have been my own words, and all of the words from people in my community, voices blending into a chorus of rising up and shouting out. Not as one, because they have come from every perspective you can imagine, but all with a similar pursuit. A diverse community forced to reason, goad, justify, explain, bargain, plead, protest and demand that they simply be given the freedom to live as they are. A community full of people who have had to fight to be allowed to live. Not live as in Laugh, Love, Live. Fight to literally live. To survive in a world that has made it difficult, if not often impossible, to exist in. And with each concession, with each tiny step toward the place we should have already been from the start, with each ‘victory’, we have had to keep fighting, mired by the world around us.
Lucinda Horrocks shares oral histories of the Gay Liberation Movement in 1970s Melbourne in the Culture Victoria exhibition, Out of the Closets, Into the Streets, “Out of the Closets: A homosexual history of Melbourne“:
So to understand what was at stake for lesbians and gays to take to the streets, we need to cast ourselves back into an earlier mindset. If you were queer, Melbourne before Gay Lib was an intolerant world. ‘If we found ourselves catapulted back to the 1950s it would be kind of a nightmare,’ says Dr Graham Willett, historian and author of Living Out Loud – a history of gay and lesbian activism in Australia. As Graham explained when we interviewed him for our project, while a camp scene (the term ‘gay’ was not used before the 1970s) had flourished in Melbourne since at least the 1920s, it was hidden, coded and discreet. ‘Mostly what [gay and lesbian] people had to put up with was the discrimination, the sense that they were disgusting in the eyes of lots of people or somehow flawed’ says Graham.
Chris Kelly, Chancellor of Massey University, said some very sexist things and then didn’t quite apologise, and then resigned. Stephanie Rodgers has all the detail at Boots Theory, “Massey Chancellor: women graduates only worth 40% of a real veterinarian“:
Does this actually need unpacking? Are we actually on the cusp of 2017 and I have to spell out why it’s so insulting, small-minded and frankly bizarre to be write off women’s professional abilities and value because they might have babies?
What about women who don’t want to have kids? What about women who enjoy more practical study than theoretical? What about women who don’t just go into veterinary science because (as implied further on in that godawful article) they love puppies and kittens and ickle babby wabbits?
Natalie Kon-Yu and Enza Gandolfo recently attended a conference and the plenary speaker was incredibly sexist, “Embedded misogyny: the academic erasure of women“:
Outside Natalie was joined by several other academics who had quietly walked out of address, and some who were too smart to go in in the first place. The academics Natalie spoke to included men and women from several different ethnic backgrounds. No-one could believe that at a conference in a creative field in Australia in 2016, a plenary speaker could be so blind to gender (and to race, for that matter – but that’s a whole other paper).
The world lost many great people in 2016, including Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds. Anna wrote about them both on Hoyden About Town, “2016 Hoydens: Debbie Reynolds and Carrie Fisher“:
Instead of doing my own inadequate round-up of commentary on Carrie in her role as General Leia in the Star Wars verse, I suggest heading over to The Mary Sue to browse through their terrific series of articles. Most people posting early footage of Debbie have chosen Good Morning from Singing in the Rain, which I freely admit is irresistible, but we must remember what a long-term, all-round star of the golden age she was, so I have put something more obscure but no less joyful below. Though people think of them both first as actresses, they also gave us a model of the possibility of a textured, mercurial yet utterly solid relationship between mother and daughter (plenty of re-watchings of Postcards From the Edge going on around the place this weekend), and Carrie was an absolute lion in the crusade to make it acceptable and understandable to live a rich life while negotiating mental illness.
At Flip That Script, they’re dreaming of a feminist Christmas, “Women: mothers, sisters, aunties, and grandmothers. Here is your ‘not to do list’ this silly season.“:
It is not a women’s job. We are not natural at it. We don’t necessarily ‘like it’. Social conditioning is a thing.
Women (girls) are taught to run events and functions, and men (boys) are taught to enjoy them. Christmas is no exception. Christmas is the peak. Sure, everyone needs to chill out more on Christmas. To slow down, pull back on the consumerism, and to just have fun times with friends and family. But everyone has to eat, and everyone has to get together in the first place – and those things require careful, considered planning. Logistics are hard work.
Tangerina writes about how women already do lots of unpaid labour that asking us to volunteer to raise the profile of the unpaid labour and the pay gap seems a little off, “Female Dancers Needed“:
But volunteering and ‘joining movements’ are one in the same. We have always given generously of ourselves and our skills, we’ve always handheld our friends and family through emotional labour, hit the streets with pamphlets, cared for our elderly, chaired meetings, hosted (and fed) fundraisers and then got up and went to our lower paid jobs afterwards. And the level of generosity and corresponding pay gap only gets higher and wider for Women of Colour.
Ana Stevenson reflects on how Ms. Magazine disrupted the masculinist language associated with the Christmas season in 1972, ““Peace on Earth Good Will to People”: Holiday Reflections on Ms. Magazine“:
The message itself was controversial. Taking the deep red and forest green associated with Christmas and tweaking these colours to hot pink and fluorescent green, it simultaneously reframed a phrase with foundations in Christianity and emotive resonance surrounding the holiday season.
The phrase Ms. sought to redefine is derived from the King James Bible. Luke 2:14 relates the annunciation to the shepherds, an episode in the Nativity of Jesus. After an angel tells of the coming of the Messiah, more angels appear, saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.”
Celeste Liddle writes at Eureka Street about discovering her grandmother was a member of the stolen generations, and how Aboriginal workers have been exploited forever, “Aboriginal workers still slipping through the gaps“:
It would be nice to think that free Aboriginal labour is firmly rooted in the shame of the past and as a nation, we have moved forward. Yet in 2015, the Federal Government decided to roll out the ‘Community Development Program’ (CDP) in remote areas of the country. The CDP is a remote Work for the Dole program and has been widely condemned; not just by the Australian Council of Trade Unions but also by recent Jobs Australia report which shows how harmful it is. People engaged in the Community Development Program are required to work 25 hours per week year round for only their Centrelink payments and if they fail to comply, they can be cut off. Reports show a community-wide decline in purchase and consumption of fresh food as participants are cut off from their payments leaving other impoverished family members more financially-stretched.
Luddite Journo at The Hand Mirror writes about the disturbing research that suggests that “science” can predict whether children are going to grow up to be criminals, “Three year olds, “science” and burdening society“:
The problem here is not that people without enough are a burden on society. It is that we have structured our society so that many people do not have enough but the rich can thrive. Finding ways to blame three year olds for intergenerational, entrenched poverty and racism is a quite the side-step, even for the most vicious of benefit bashers. I wonder how well Professor Poulton’s test predicts white collar crime? I’m sure it takes into account the institutional racism which study after study has identified in our criminal legal system. And I’m certain he found a way to pay attention to the fact that the children of rich people may not need to access social services in the same way because they are well-protected by the wealth of their parents.
Brigitte Lewis examins the roots and impact of feminist digital activism, both online and off, “Feminist Digital Activism: The revolution is being streamed, snapped and tweeted“:
While the internet is undoubtedly a cesspool of sexual harassment, it is also the site of digital activism. With the creation of digital activism, a feminist and female-led revolution, once pronounced dead – has been reignited. As Gil Scot-Heron famously said, “The Revolution Will Not be Televised” (1970); somewhere, on the internet, it will be streamed, photographed, tweeted and then turned into a meme.
Mary over at Puzzling.org writes a continuation of a series, “Moving to Australia as a progressive in 2016: discrimination, violence, and activism“, this time covering Indigenous dispossession and oppression, refugee rights, worker’s rights, racial equality and anti-racism, LGBTI rights, women’s rights, disability rights, and sex work.
2016 in review and looking forward to 2017
Andi Buchanan’s year in review.
Tigtog at Hoyden About Town wrote, “Open Looking Forward to 2017 Thread”
It almost fits, blue milk wrote about what December looks like in her part of Australia, “What December 2016 looks like (in the subtropics)”
Reproductive Health and Choice
After Catherine Deveny had thoughts about men opting out of pregnancy, blue milk posted, “On the idea that men should be able to ‘opt out’of parenthood“:
Men can ‘opt out’ already. Don’t have sex with women, get a vasectomy, take lots and lots of responsibility for contraception. Oh.. you mean not that kind of “control over reproductive choices”.
Cristy Clark wrote about Catherine Deveny’s article at Overland, “Deveny’s ‘financial abortion’ is a form of coercive control“:
But if ‘pro-life’ campaigners were genuinely concerned with the preservation of life, they would do more than fight to deny women access to abortion. They would spend their time actively working to create an environment in which women are genuinely supported to carry their pregnancies to term. Instead, these anti-choice campaigners are the exact same people who lobby for legal and economic policies that create poverty and ongoing systematic disadvantage for mothers (particularly in terms of workplace and public life participation).
So what does motivate anti-choice activists? The available evidence seems to indicate they are more concerned with controlling women and undermining their bodily autonomy – a conclusion supported by their participation in denying basic human rights to pregnant and breastfeeding mothers. Examples of this include the widespread denial of birth rights (such as free and informed consent prior to invasive medical procedures) and the pervasive shaming and exclusion of breastfeeding women from public spaces.
Emmaline Matagi writes at Spinoff, “Positive: A mother’s abortion story“:
My stomach drops. I haven’t even realised I am seven weeks late. I’ve been so busy with life; three kids, teaching full-time, studying for a Masters part-time, being a wife, a volunteer, a woman. When was my last period? Last month? The month before? I don’t even know.
My health history is a complicated one: three children, three emergency cesarean sections, two resuscitations and a nine-week premature baby.
I tell my husband the news. He’s devastated. “There’s no way we can do this, we just cant lose you,” he says. “Look at how sick you are! Look at you, this is happening all over again we just cant lose you!” His words stick in my mind for days. And so I finally get up the nerve to see a doctor.
Emily at Emily Writes, feels guilty about abandoning her blog given she’s been writing elsewhere. But she has some snippets for us, “Assorted tales from a stairway covered in shoes“:
Oh poor neglected blog. Now that I have abandoned you for a better, brighter, more scintillating and stimulating lover (The Spinoff Parents) I barely see you anymore.
I keep trying to come back to you but I don’t have much to say here. I have been noting things down, not particularly interesting, but they’re things I can assure you.
Race, racism and representation
Emmaline Matagi writes at Spinoff, “Representation matters: A mother talks about what Moana means to her and her daughter“:
As a mother to a six-year-old daughter of the Pacific I can honestly say that this film will stay with my child. She won’t ever forget it. Nor will I let her. Moana is a young brown girl, with long, thick black hair, thick brown lips, big brown eyes, thick black eyebrows and a love for the ocean and her family. I see my daughter in Moana. More importantly however, is that my daughter sees herself in Moana! Why is that important? Because never before in her short six years of life or my longer 30 years have we Pacific people ever been able to say we truly see ourselves as the hero of an animated movie – EVER. Moana represented her, her family, her people, her ocean and her story. The history of our ancestors (albeit a tiny glimpse into our amazing history) is our history nonetheless and it’s on the big screen now. My children, like many others, adore Disney movies. They love watching the animation, love the stories, and they love getting dressed up like the characters and pretending they are in those fantasy worlds. Moana is different for them. This time they got to see themselves and they don’t have to dress up, they don’t have to pretend they are in a fantasy world, this is their world.
Stephanie at No Award is attempting to justify buying a book. I also need to justify buying this book because it aligns with my research interests, “book review: asia on tour: exploring the rise of Asian tourism“:
This is an academic book; however it’s very accessible. Even the chapters that include ethnographic studies and academic definitions are lacking in dense language. Published in 2009 it’s a little old, but as an introduction to talking about Asian tourism in Asia, and post-colonial travel regionally, it’s a great one. It’s also a good introduction to tourism studies in general, if that’s a thing you’ve been vaguely interested in but never tackled before.
Violence *All posts in this section contain trigger warnings for violence*
Rosie Dalton writes about the concerning study which showed that women were more likely to tolerate stalking like behaviour after watching rom-coms, “New Study Shows Rom Coms Make Us More Tolerant of ‘Stalking Myths’“:
Only in the land of romantic comedies are stalking narratives somehow portrayed as less dangerous than they actually are. Take There’s Something About Mary, for example, where the creepiness of Ben Stiller hiring a private detective to track down his high school crush is somehow glossed over. These kinds of subtle narratives in rom coms can have real world impacts though, as a new study by gender and sexuality expert Julia R Lippman, of the University of Michigan has found. According to The Guardian, Lippman’s report I Did It Because I Never Stopped Loving You found that rom coms featuring men engaging in stalker-like behaviour can make women more likely to tolerate obsessiveness from prospective romantic partners.
Vera Mackie explores women’s experiences of militarised sexual abuse during the Asia-Pacific War, and the survivors’ campaign for acknowledgement by the Japanese government, “The Grandmother and the Girl“.
Lisa Durnian examines patricide prosecutions where children killed their mothers’ abusers, demonstrating how it is not just the immediate victims of violence who suffer in abusive household, ““Mum will be safe now”: Prosecuting children who kill violent men“.
Dianne Hall discusses how gendered familial roles in early modern Europe institutionalised family violence and influenced its treatment in the courts, “Domestic violence has a history: Early modern family violence“.
Joanne McEwan delves into legal responses to wife beating in eighteenth-century England, and its resonance with contemporary discourses, “The legacy of eighteenth-century wife beating“.
Jane Freeland looks at the spirit of survival women demonstrated in the face of domestic violence at other women’s shelters – this time in Cold War Germany, “Writing their stories: Women’s survivorship and the history of domestic abuse in divided Germany“.
Mary Tomsic explores cinematic representations of physical and sexual violence against women in We Aim to Please, a 1970s Australian feminist film, “We Aim to Please: Cinematic activism, sex and violence“.
Lisa Featherstone reveals the controversies that dogged the campaign to criminalise marital rape in Australia in the 1970s and 1980s, “Rape in marriage: Why was it so hard to criminalise sexual violence?“.
Senthorun Raj discusses how pop culture stereotypes about homosexuality enable bureaucratic violence towards refugees, “Are you really gay enough to be a refugee?“:
What do Madonna, Oscar Wilde, Greco-Roman wrestling, clubbing at Stonewall, and having a lot of sex have in common? Not much really, other than the fact that Australian refugee decisions are saturated with these stereotypes – stereotypes that have been used to determine whether a person is “genuinely” gay and subject to a “well-founded fear of persecution.” As a gay man who some politicians would class as “elite” because I live in the inner city suburb of Sydney and prefer investing in books than mortgages, I could tell you very little about Oscar Wilde’s literary contributions. Yet, for same-sex attracted refugees, the demand to prove “gay identity” is no joke. The bureaucratic violence perpetrated against queers who seek refuge leaves more to be desired.
Jessica Hammond writes, “Runner’s Guide to Rape Culture” where she rightly picks apart an author’s “safety tips” on how women can avoid being assaulted while running.