38th Down Under Feminists’ Carnival

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Hello everyone and welcome to the 38th Down Under Feminists’ Carnival.  Thanks for all the fantastic submissions and to everyone who wrote all the fantastic articles I’m linking to.

If at any point I have misnamed, mislabled, or misgendered someone, please let me know immediately so that I can correct my error If I have included a post of yours that you would not like included, please let me know and I will remove it.  Should any of my links be broken, just let me know and I’ll attempt to fix it.

Reproductive Rights

Lauredhel at Hoyden About Town wrote about the Catholic Church in Australia blocking information on contraceptives to patients receiving a Thalidomide-analogue drug for a cancer trial. 

Deborah at A Bee of a Certain Age, wrote about the recent court case in New Zealand/Aotearoa which ruled that the court’s previous finding that the “Abortion Supervisory Committee isn’t doing its job properly is wrong.”  A great victory for reproductive rights in New Zealand.

Queen of Thorns at Ideologically Impure writes “Fuck Yeah” in relation to the win at the courts as mentioned above.

Maia at The Hand Mirror has discovered that the Right to Life group has appealed the court case mentioned above with the very legal sounding:

The legal recognition of children before birth as human beings endowed at conception by the Creator with human rights, the foundation right being a right to life.



Doctor Samantha Thomas at The Discourse wrote about how hard it is to “be tough” and to “suck it up” in the workplace, after Penny Wong was described by a fellow MP as a, “strong woman”.

Chally at Zero at the Bone writes about the crystallisation of her own understanding about why she writes what she does (with thanks to tigtog) in her blog:

I’m enjoying looking at race and gender and sexuality and disability and so forth and nudging at essentialist ideas about who a person can be. At the end of the day, people are people with their own variations and manifestations of identities and circumstances. I think it important to remember that people aren’t a list of ticky boxes, and when ideas about what a particular kind of person can be don’t fit with what such people can be, it’s time to stop and reflect.

blue milk posts two excerpts from other blogs, one on racism and the other on gender identity – and encourages us to read both fantastic blog posts in full.

anthea at The Hand Mirror discusses the difference, to her, of being an immigrant versus being an ex-pat.

Chally at Zero at the Bone also writes about community and the difficulties she has faced in finding a community or defining community.

Hexy at hexpletive provides a transcript of the speech she gave at the recent Camp Betty in Sydney.  It’s so good I want to quote the whole thing.

The world we live in is not only homophobic and femmephobic, it’s ableist, racist, whorephobic, sexist, transphobic, sizeist, classist, colonialist, gender normative, heteronormative, and enforces a whole bunch of other isms that I’ve probably left out. It is inevitable that some femmes will experience intersecting marginalisations in at least some of these areas. Femmes of colour exist, femmes with disabilities exist, trans* femmes exist, femmes of size exist, femmes of varying class status exist, sex working femmes exist, femmes of all sexes and genders exist. Femme is a wonderfully diverse identity that encapsulates a range of people from a vast selection of differently flavoured other identities. I think that’s just grand, and something we should be embracing, not ignoring.

stargazer at The Hand Mirror writes about “the usefulness of gift duty” and how it is to be abolished this year which removes some protections from elder abuse.

Chally at Zero at the Bone writes about James Tiptree Jr., also known as Alice B. Sheldon and the art of writing and how that is viewed by others.

blue milk writes on Deborah Orr and her cry for mothers to rally against feminism.

blue milk also writes about the art of good defacement in relation to Princess Hijab in France and the work she does defacing commercial posters.

Hexy at hexpletive writes about all the things that are fucked with the draft WA Prostitution bill.

No Right Turn reports on the good news that the Auckland prostitution ban is likely to be voted down.


Race and Racism

Queen of Thorns at Ideologically Impure writes, “Academic white dude fights the [trans* Maori feminist] power” and discusses how Paul is busy playing the martyr card.

blue milk posts about another black woman in the US who is charged with stealing educational funds because she did not live at the address she recorded for her children (as she was itinerant).

stargazer at The Hand Mirror provides some links to awesome stuff by women of colour including a clip by:

rangimarie turuki rose peri, who speaks about being yourself & celebrating yourself. i particularly love the bit where she says:

in my world i’m perfect, i’m beautiful. so beautiful that all waters want to reflect my image.

Hannah Armstrong at Little Seahorse writes about being Aboriginal and what that means, especially as a member of the Moon Bird People, Tasmanian Aborigines – a group that many claim no longer exists.  She describes growing up Aboriginal and the rage she lives.

I love this anger and fire. I was raised by a strong, passionate, independant woman who has fought against prejudice and ignorance and abuse all her life.  She taught me, and my brother and sister, to stand up and to speak our minds, to refuse to tolerate racism, and prejudice. To have respect for our elders, and to teach others about our culture, our history, to try and get rid of some of the eyewatering ignorance around us.

The Anti-Bogan writes at Anti-Discrimination, “Ready to Confront Your Own Racism“, where they discuss the racism of white Australians and the screen documentary on SBS, “Go Back to Where You Came From”, and how racist views can change with education and exposure.

Hexy at Hexpletive provides a transcript of a spoken word performance she did at “POC the mic” a person of colour performance night organised as a satellite event to Camp Betty.  It’s titled, “My Skin“.

LudditeJourno at The Hand Mirror, writes about “The benefits of Travelling While White” and how she has witnessed the different treatment provided to travellers who are not white.

anjum at stargazer writes about the racism faced by the tainui for working within the laws of the land, and then facing racism when shopping.

stargazer at The Hand Mirror writes about the problem of calling bloggers “white” when you don’t know anything about their background, as well as:

there is another aspect. if you’re a white person criticising the writers of this blog (as a collective) for having white privilege, when the issue you’re taking up with them doesn’t even involve race, that is damaging to people of colour. what you are doing is appropriating the arguments of racism, the arguments needed by people of colour to fight institutionalised inequality, and misusing them. in effect, you devalue those arguments.



An image of a woman on the left and a beached whale (smiling) on the right. The final line reads, "Not that much resemblance there at all really" (Image by Judy Horacek)

Doctor Samantha Thomas at The Discourse wrote about the article covered in the Herald Sun regarding Amanda Bell and the treatment she received recently in hospital (Amanda Bell, not Dr Thomas).  Thomas covers the issues relating to Health Professionals and how they react to fat people really nicely.

Dr Thomas then neatly follows that post up with another titled, “Embarrassing Fat Bodies: The Inconvenient Truth“, detailing Doctor Christian’s show “Embarrassing Fat Bodies” (how delightful, remind me to never watch it), and then reproduces an article which she wrote with Prof Colin McLeod.

Sleepydumpling at Fat Heffalump wrote about being diagnosed with Type Two Diabetes:

A person’s health, and their body, is their own, and nobody has the right to judge, bully, troll, lecture, vilify, disrespect or discriminate against anyone for their health or their body shape or size.  Even if their weight DID contribute to an illness, it’s nobody’s business but THEIRS.

Sleepydumpling then follows up with an excellent post “On “Letting Yourself” Get Unhealthy“.  Sleepydumpling explains that fat people deserve the same level of medical treatment that anyone undertaking any kind of risky behaviour (sport, drinking alcohol, getting pregnant, diving, going out into the sun, etc) receives:

So why is it that fatness is singled out?  Why is it that there is this general perception that fat people aren’t capable of making informed, conscious choices about our own lives and the risks associated?  Why is it believed that we need to be shamed for our own good?

Because it’s not about health.  It has never been about health.  It is about appearance and moral superiority.  A fat person offends the eye of a fat hater (and fat hatred is encouraged in our society), so they need to be shamed and bullied until they are either thin, or hidden away where the fat hater cannot see them.  Or better still, eradicated.  And our culture encourages people to feel moral superiority over others, so as we are encouraged to hate fat, who better to claim moral superiority over to make ourselves feel better than the fatties?

Sleepydumpling follows again with another great post titled, “On Stareable Bodies” where she recounts the anger she sees when she actively notices people staring at her and sometimes calls them on it.

It’s not easy, speaking up, staring back.  Most of the time I’ve got better things to do with my time than confront some rude narrow-mind about their behaviour.  Sometimes I’m in a setting that isn’t conducive to making an example of someone’s bad behaviour, like at work or if I’m a guest of someone else.  Other times I just don’t want to and don’t feel that I should have to.

And I don’t have to.  Not if I don’t want to, I’m not under any obligation to fix other people’s bad behaviour, only my own.

But I’ve learnt that by challenging the starer, I regain something that is mine – my right to be in public, as I am, without apology.

Dr Samantha Thomas at The Discourse writes about the magic numbers that so many people ascribe to for health, and how perhaps big really is beautiful.

Sleepydumpling at Fat Heffalump writes about “No Doing – Just Being”, in which she includes the following great quote from Chuck Palahniuk.

“That’s the best revenge of all: happiness.  Nothing drives people crazier than seeing someone have a good fucking life.”  – Chuck Palahniuk

anthea at The Hand Mirror writes about taking up space on public transport and how people are expected to fit around design and how rarely design is made to fit around people.

Sleepydumpling at Fat Heffalump writes a beautiful open letter to Rebecca Sparrow, thanking her for listening and explaining how bad fat stigmatism is and how bad it is to reduce a person to one attribute – and that one being a negative attribute at that.

Sleepydumpling also writes about how thin is seen as good, even when you’re feeling awful, so just losing weight can result in people telling you that you look great, even if you don’t feel that.


General Feminism

Chally at Zero at the Bone writes about her gratitude that her life is full of wonderful things including:

I’m grateful for a family more interesting than any story. For good friends, who love me for who I am, even if I don’t quite understand it. For a warm bed in which I get to wake up in comfort. For the skill of my hands and the fullness of my heart

penguinunearthed writes about Queen Isabela I of Castile and notes the amazing things that she did, including consolidating power with her husband King Ferdinand, without glossing over her involvement in the Inquisition.

penguinunearthed also writes about Brance Edmee Marques, a Portuguese scientist and a student of Marie Curie.

tigtog at Hoyden About Town produces a Bingo Card (you know you want to play) to deal with “”nice guys” who refuse to take no for an answer in casual social situations”.

tigtog also neatly summarises Robbie Williams’s rather borked view of the world in, “Robbie Williams, Professor of Manology at Science University“.

Deborah at A Bee of a Certain Age, spotted a fantastic photo in the Weekend Standard, where two women sporting fine moustaches were having books signed by a “media personality” who had “made some nasty and vicious remarks about Stephanie Mills’ facial hair” some years ago.

Julie at The Hand Mirror details how creepy she found Richard Lewis, political leader of Destiny Church, when he appeared on Campbell Live.

stargazer at The Hand Mirror writes about Aotearoa/New Zealand’s Chief Human Rights Commissioner, Rosslyn Noonan, and how awesome she is, and how whoever replaces her has some very big shoes to fill.

Profligate Promiscuous Strumpet posted a fantastic letter to men.

Louise at Four Coloured Stripes writes about the pain of assessing essays where the default gender for the artist and the viewer is male despite the study of female artist during the semester and the majority of the students being female.

Deborah at A Bee of a Certain Age, writes about her shock and fear when a stranger knocked on her door while it was dark one morning.

Blue milk writes about a girl in her daughter’s class who has ranked all the girls in the class in levels of attractiveness, how her daughter reacted to this as well as Bluemilk’s own reaction.

the news with nipples writes about how she wants to be age-inappropriate when she grows up like many other famous and wonderful women, after reading the latest “style rules”.

the news with nipples also writes on the how the media treats Australia’s Prime Minister, and how asking the Prime Minister’s father for his opinions of his daughter’s popularity is sexist and rude.

Scuba Nurse at The Hand Mirror writes about the awesomeness that is the Topp Twins and meeting them at Womad.

Blue milk writes about a yet another book on evolutionary psychology and sex, this time focusing on porn, with an excerpt from the authors and then linking to and excerpting a quote from a blog neatly taking the arguments apart.

Chally talks about consensual touch and how feminism has led to her thinking on touch, and how that works with her guinea pigs.

Mindy at Hoyden About Town writes a Quick Hit post on the gender free preschool in Stockholm.

Chally writes about “Freelancing while female” and the value put on writing and how that can be gendered.

anjum at stargazer writes about pounamu and how the gift of it to her is important, as well as finishing the taku manawa human rights facilitation course.

highlyeccentric at The Naked Philologist writes about the problematic assumption that all medieval authors are male, that no women wrote under pseudonyms, or that the anonymous stories/poems were written by women.

Nine at Abyssinia, Henry writes about the travels they’ve recently undertaken and the people they’ve met.

Briony Lipton at nobilityporn writes an fantastically detailed post titled, “‘Polly Put the Kettle On’: The Media’s Discursive Positioning of Female Politicians in Australia, 1990 – 2011”.


(Because there are so many wonderful posts) Alisdair Thomson and his comments

After Alisdair Thomson stated that the reason there was a gender paygap was because women took more sick leave and time off to care for children, stargazer at The Hand Mirror calls for his resignation, and Stef at A Touch of the Crazy awards him her asshat of the month award.

Deborah over at A Bee of a Certain Age developed a “Special snowflake bingo” card especially for playing while listening or reading Alisdair.

Queen of Thorns at Idealogically Impure takes apart Alisdair’s political smarts fail.

stargazer at The Hand Mirror looks at the interview Alisdair did with TV3, how he failed to apologise for what he said, and how he then went onto breach the privacy of his employees.

Kiwiana at Kiwiana (inked) writes about some of the real reasons pay inequality exist after Alisdair’s comments.

Annanonymous at The End Is Naenae! writes about how Alisdair’s comments united women across the political spectrum and had them all talking about menstruation, and also looks at productivity.

But here’s the thing: Thompson might have got away with it if it hadn’t been for that pesky menstruation.*  His other remarks – that the gender pay gap is due to the fact women have babies and childcare responsibilities – might have gone under the radar, if phrased differently and followed by a full stop rather than a period.  There’s still a pretty big constituency for the ideas that women’s caregiving roles outside work make us less productive (a situation that could of course be helped by men doing more at home).



Ariane at Ariane’s little world writes about her dislike of labels and her son’s diagnosis of Aspergers.



Blue Milk wrote about the removal of the Rip and Roll ads in Brisbane, after a concerted campaign by the Australian Christian Lobby, and quotes one of the participants in the ads, Michael James, as to his participation in the ads.  Blue Milk also encourages people to get involved with the mymarriagestory site.

I wrote on the Australian Christian Lobby’s apologist and his piece in the ABC Drum opinion site – taking apart their argument that they are all for tolerance and are really lovely.

Steph at 天高皇企鹅远 writes about reading the complaints made against the Rip and Roll ads and how it would appear that Adshel did not read them too closely given how many of them are similar.  Steph also finds that the complaints leave her with many questions.

Mindy at Hoyden About Town also wrote about the Rip and Roll ads, summarising the complaints and asking what is wrong with:

Flying Spaghetti Monster forbid that there might just be a child out there who for the first time thinks “I’m like them, I’m okay. There must be other people like me out there. I’m not weird, I’m not sinful, I’m just me.” Because we wouldn’t want that happening now would we?

Maia at The Hand Mirror writes about a queer student at St Pats whose school won’t allow him to take his partner to the school ball.

Mr Wainscotting at Missing Sparkles writes about Political Parties tacitly endorsing bigotry by attending the Destiny Church conference and not speaking out against queerphobia.

I wrote about Dan Savage still being biphobic after a piece he published in June.

Quietly Questioning wrote about “Bisexuality, invisibility and erasure” after Dan Savage’s most recently comments.

Queen Emily guest posts at Raising My Boychick where she writes about the pain and sadness of not being able to have children.

Octavia at Octavia’s Spitfire Emporium writes “A call to: on trans*phobia/cissexism” and details behaviour that is trans*phobic/cissexist.


Queer the Night

I only heard about Wellington’s Queer the Night through the posts at The Hand Mirror, and would like to share with you the post by LudditeJourno titled, “I’m here, I’m queer, get used to it” in which LudditeJourno details her journey of identifying as bisexual and the issues that has raised for her, and the reason why she’s marching.

Maia at The Hand Mirror wrote a demo report, in which she details her joy of counting numbers, collecting chants and the power of individual stories.

Queen of Thorns at Ideologically Impure details her concerns regarding Queer the Night, specifically the cis-normative language used by the organisers and the trans* exclusive language.


Family and Women’s Work

Mindy at Hoyden About Town writes about an “Insurance Fail” for a company advertising insurance to stay at home mums.

Mindy also writes about “Supermum – it’s all your fault“.

I do want to ask for help and I do ask for help. In fact some times I get really angry and go beyond asking for help and into demanding that you do it your bloody self. I don’t feel that it’s damaging to my sense of motherhood at all. In fact, since having children, my ideas of motherhood have quite changed from what I imagined them to be. Since becoming a blogger they have changed again, especially with the advent of FB and Twitter. Just lately I have been encouraged and influenced by Bluemilk’s series on Feminist Motherhood , which just quietly is fucking brilliant, and @Mimbles’ comments about training her children to be live in staff (tongue in cheek, but informative none the less).

Penni at eglantine’s cake writes a response to Clem Bastow’s piece in The Age about childlessness and how being a mother was not a conscious choice for her.  She links to a piece by her sister, Kylie at Not Even a Bag of Sugar on her difficult choice on not having another child.

Mindy at Hoyden about Town writes about choosing not to have children, and how the pressure to have children is rarely honest about the negatives about parenthood.

blue milk writes about “Classism and mothers” and how much of the divide is made on the ability of a mother to consume.

anthea at The Hand Mirror writes about cleaning as a skill and how women are assumed to have that skill due to their gender (in part).

I am absolutely not saying that some people are born to do housework and others aren’t. I am particularly wary of how that may be used to justify the greater portion of housework falling on women because they are ‘naturally better at it’ or some other such bullshit. To the extent that housework is necessary – and I am aware many people take it beyond this, which is their prerogative but not a universal standard – members of a unit need to come to a fair arrangement (which may include contracting of people from outside that unit) that takes account of everyone’s skills and abilities, and people are going to need to put some effort into things they find hard, or learn new skills they lack. But I think recognising housework as a skill leads to more respect, and recognition of abilities, all round.

Shiny new coin writes about the lack of courage that the media has to honestly represent the difficult choice between caring for your children and/or working.

Shae at Yay for Home writes about how it feels to be judged by others for your parenting choices, and the choices of your children.



Queen of Thorns at Ideologically Impure writes the “Mother of all (Australasia-centric) SlutWalk roundups” post, listing a great selection of posts about SlutWalk.

tigtog at Hoyden About Town writes an open letter to the media in which she requests that media organisations don’t focus on the clothing of the participants but instead the real reasons that people are marching against slut shaming, the insulting implication that men are unable to control themselves.

Queen of Thorns at Ideologically Impure writes about the reclamation of the word “slut” and how that is a reclamation she has made for years.  She also discusses the privilege involved in SlutWalk, and the criticisms she finds funny.

the news with nipples beautifully tears apart Jim Schembri’s “opinion piece” in Fairfax media and demonstrates that not only did he fail to do his homework before writing the article, he mansplains and is overwhelmingly sexist.

The Brisbane Times covered Brisbane’s SlutWalk and the comments made by Tiara Shafiq, which have gone viral.

“I don’t care if you are the bastard child of Paris Hilton and Voldemort and your full-time job is as a stripper … and you are the only girl for miles – you still do not deserve to be assaulted or raped,” she said.

Deborah (of A Bee of a Certain Age) had a piece published in The Dominion Post on the SlutWalks in Auckland and Wellington.

“It’s just about being sensible,” people will say. “It’s like locking your car up so that it won’t get stolen.”

But women are not property. They are not things to be owned and possessed. Women are people, and rape is a crime against a person, not a crime against property. More to the point, I cannot lock my body up. My body goes with me, wherever I go, no matter how I am dressed. I cannot avoid having a body. In any case, no one tells the owner of a nice car that he is asking for it.

Suba Nurse at The Hand Mirror writes an open letter to NZ media regarding SlutWalk and her request that they don’t misquote participants, cover the real issues, learn about the real issues, and be respectful.

Julie at The Hand Mirror attended the SlutWalk in Auckland and has photos at her post.

Maia at The Hard Mirror attended the SlutWalk in Wellington after attending a protest on Youth Rates, and then follows up with a fantastic post on how Dita De Boni is wrong.

But it’s also an important political point; you can’t present yourself as a sex object. Objectification is something that is done to you, it is not something you can do to yourself. Without this understanding any attempt to talk about the politics of objectification descend into gibberish.

Rachel at Musings of an Inappropriate Woman writes about SlutWalk in London and her initial fears leading up to the walk.



*Trigger warning – these posts discuss violence against others of varying types*

tigtog at Hoyden About Town writes about how the Catholic Church sends senior church figures to accompany those who are accused of assaulting and abusing others, to court, but who do not accompany those who have been assaulted or abused.

She follows up with a post titled “Anybody who says crap like this? Avoid them and warn others about them” which pretty much sums it all up.

Mindy at Hoyden About Town points out helpfully that “Sleeping is not consenting”

blue milk writes a letter to a woman who suggested that some women may be responsible for being raped, pointing out the big issues with this.

Maia at The Hand Mirror points out that women can be raped in a post about the Dominique Strauss-Khan case.

Jshoep at Maybe it means nothing writes about her reaction at a gym when someone made a rape joke.

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11 thoughts on “38th Down Under Feminists’ Carnival”

  1. AMAZING carnival! Wow! Can’t wait to settle in and read all these great links. Thanks for all your hard work!

  2. Great selection of posts. Looking forward to reading all the ones that snuck by me during the month!

  3. Thank you so much for this gorgeousness, Rebecca! And I’ve learned about some blogs I hadn’t heard of before, too.

  4. Finally made my way through the carnival! Well done on an amazing and huge roundup of most excellent links.

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