Welcome to the 89th Down Under Feminists’ Carnival

Come one, come all to the 89th Down Under Feminists’ Carnival.  I know an apostrophe goes in there somewhere, and that is where it goes today.  There are many wonderful things about the number 89, it’s 24th prime number, following 83 and preceding 97. 89 is a Chen prime and a Pythagorean prime. It is the smallest Sophie Germain prime to start a Cunningham chain of the first kind of six terms, {89, 179, 359, 719, 1439, 2879}. 89 is an Eisenstein prime with no imaginary part and real part of the form 3n - 1. M89 is the 10th Mersenne prime. (all from Wikipedia)  I don’t know what most of that actually means, but I share it for your edumacation.

Anyway, September was yet another fantastic month to be a blogger in Australia and New Zealand, particularly a feminist blogger.  There was the “knifing” of Tony Abbott, a new Minister for Women in Australia, a new Australian Prime Minister (more primes), Chris Brown effectively banned from Australia, lots of commentary on the scourge of domestic violence, spring started and Melbourne eventually started to warm up.  I haven’t been paying attention to the weather in other parts of Australia and New Zealand, so I hope your weather was also more spring like, and less winter/summer like.

If you reside in Australia or New Zealand and you’d like to host a future Down Under Feminist Carnival please let Chally know here.  It’s not very difficult, and I promise I will help by sharing relevant posts with you.  And now on with the carnival.


Andi Buchanan launched Capricious, the first issue is available for free.

Last week I launched the first issue of Capricious. It was a long (and at time stressful) road to get there, but I’m so pleased with how it turned out. (And telling myself that the formatting will be so much easier next time!)

Hoyden About Town turned 10!

Celeste Liddle at Rantings of an Aboriginal Feminist writes, “When writing takes it out of you“:

Tonight I imparted a small bit of wisdom to someone who was new to public writing and had written on a raw topic. It was this: writing in this way can sometimes leave you feeling completely drained and vulnerable, but it is more powerful than keeping silent. It’s something I have personally experienced time and time again. There have been pieces I have written which have kept me from sleeping at night because they have been so close to the bone (even if they don’t read this way) and I find I’m still processing the act of divulging this hours afterwards. I’ve not regretted writing these (though a year down the track I may shudder at what I’ve constructed) but conveying trauma or experience, in veiled forms and completely openly, can really take it out of you. And it’s not just because you revisit traumatic experiences while you are writing. It’s also because you leave yourself open for others to interpret, or misinterpret your words. It’s impossible to completely prepare for that reaction from others.

Rebecca Shaw wrote for SBS, “The trouble with stating your opinion on the Internet while being a woman“:

Because Mr Christensen is known as a politician who will engage with people on Twitter, I expected to receive some blowback for the piece. As someone who writes opinion pieces, I have no problem with that. I assumed that he would engage with my (correct) opinions about his politics, and would debate those in a reasoned manner. But sadly for him, and kind of satisfyingly for me, he went on to prove all of my initial points about his character.

Rebecca Shaw writes at Kill Your Darlings, “Girl Gang: The value of female friendship“:

On-screen romantic relationships have often been held up as the gauge against which real-life relationships are measured. If you are single or your relationships don’t achieve the same dizzying heights as those depicted on screen, you can easily feel demoralised. And as we see more and more depictions of realistic but idealised friendships, there is a danger that this is just another way for women to be made to feel inferior or incomplete, if they can’t attain the kind of relationships they see depicted. But, as it is with the idealism of romantic relationships, this doesn’t mean the attempts should be discouraged.

Erin Farrow writes at The Conversation, “Honest and subtle: writing about sex in young adult literature“:

When young people have an unprecedented level of access to graphic depictions of sex, both in literature and online, how can teaching young writers to write about sex challenge them to navigate sexual relationships?

Tansy Rayner Roberts is writing a series on SF Women of the 20th Century, she’s written one on Octavia E Butler and Wendy Froud, one of the creators of Yoda.

Indigenous Australians

Bree Blakeman writes at Fieldnotes & Footnotes, “The way value inheres: Yolŋu riŋgitj and its relationship to Malay ‘ringgit’“:

There are many loan words from Malay and other Austronesian languages in the Yolŋu languages of east Arnhem Land (seeEvans 1992). These derive from pre-colonial exchange relations between Yolŋu people and seafarers from the port of Macassar (now Ujung Pandang) in Sulawesi. Collectively referred to as ‘Maŋgatharra’ in Yolŋu-matha, these seafarers made the annual voyage to Arnhem to collect trepang and engage in broader exchange relations with Yolŋu people.† A number of Yolŋu people also accompanied Maŋgatharra on return voyages to the Port of Macassar, as evidenced by oral history and art work such as that pictured above.

Stephanie at No Award writes, “hello and welcome to spring (not spring)“:

Here we are, solidly a “week” into “Spring.” In Melbourne, this means there’s nothing different to last month; it’s max 13C, there’s winds and rain, and this afternoon the possibility of hail.

So now seems like a good reminder: Spring is an artificial concept imported and imposed upon the Australian landscape when those invaders should have been chatting to the Traditional Owners about the six (or seven, or two) seasons. (It goes without saying that it’s all about imperialism and racism that we don’t talk about this stuff even now, but comment if you wanna chat about it)

Nicholas Biddle and Naomi Priest write at The Conversation, “Racism hits Indigenous students’ attendance and grades“:

These and other initiatives are clearly well intentioned. Many are based on solid evidence and evaluations. Despite this, we have been far from successful in achieving our goals for Indigenous education. The early childhood education target was not met. We are not on track to achieve the literacy and numeracy targets.

This may be in part because Indigenous education policy, at least at the national level, is mostly silent on the difficult issue of racism and discrimination. Our research shows the potential effect of an Indigenous child or his/her family experiencing racism, discrimination, prejudice, bullying or unfair treatment due to their Indigenous status between the ages of 5 and 9.

Kelly Briggs (The Koori Woman) is fundraising to:

travel to the Menominee Nation to ascertain the points and extenuating circumstances of the Menominee treaty and bring that information back to the Gomeroi people of Northern NSW to better campaign against environmental attacks and keep Gomeroi land for Gomeroi people.

Also an excellent opportunity to visit the Menominee Cultural Centre and gather some ideas for cultural centres across Australia.


Lauredhel at Hoyden About Town pointed out that GetUp failed at web accessibility standards with, “Brickbat: GetUp!’s “Can’t See?” alt text“:

If you are a GetUp! subscriber who can’t see, that information was what your screen reader would read to you. This is very obviously poor practice, it goes against all documented and long-standing guidelines on how to use alt text, and (leaving aside all the other reasons someone might have images off) it is a giant middle-finger “screw-you” to your blind subscribers.

Women in Sport

Mindy writes at Hoyden About Town about the Matilda’s pay dispute in, “Friday Hoyden: The Matildas“:

The Matildas were going to play some games in the US, but have pulled out of the tour because they are currently in the middle of a pay dispute. From what I understand they are contracted to work 40 days per year and paid a base salary of $21 000. On paper this looks pretty good. I wouldn’t mind being paid $525 per day. I’m sure they wouldn’t either because they haven’t been paid for two months. They have also already worked much more than 40 days this year.


Jo at A Life Unexamined writes, “An Asexual Future?“:

At the moment, I share a flat with my very good friend and housemate, E. We’ve been living together in our flat for almost three years now, and at least as far as I’m concerned, we couldn’t really have a better thing going on. Unlike some of the share houses I lived in previously, living with E feels like home. We rant at each other about our days, finish each other’s sentences, and can communicate without actually needing to say anything, which my sister finds amusing and endlessly confusing at the same time. Our perfect weekend consists of going to IKEA for breakfast and then spending the afternoon putting together furniture we weren’t actually looking for. We’re pretty sure the guy at the checkouts at Aldi thinks we’re a couple. Both of us are kind of terrified of the idea of having to live with anyone else.

Catherine Deveny writes for SBS, “For your records, only one form should be allowed to ask whether somebody has ever put a ring on it“:

It’s still there, on official forms: “MARITAL STATUS”. Why was this ever on forms in the first place? How is whether or not you are handcuffed in love jail relevant to anything?

I’m certain you’ll join me in suggesting it’s time we filed this medieval, homophobic, misogynist, discriminatory unnecessary judgment – posed as information for ‘our records’ – in the WTF file and moved on.

Women, Sexism, and Feminism

Anna writes at Hoyden About Town, “Talk like a pirate day Friday Hoyden: Sayyida al Hurra“:

In honour of the occasion, this year’s Pirate Hoyden is the Renaissance Moroccan Queen Sayyida al Hurra, and a magnificent example she is indeed.

She was born around 1485 in Granada which, as a city on the cusp of Spain’s blending point with North Africa, was one of the great centres of art and thought, but constantly being pulled between Christian and Muslim rule. A member of the Andalusian noble family Banu Rashid, her family relocated to Morocco after Granada fell to Christian conquest in the early sixteenth century.

Beth Gaze at The Conversation wrote, “Let’s talk about your pay, and loudly“:

September 4 this year was “Equal Pay Day”. September 4 was chosen because this marks the extra length of time, on average, a woman has to work to earn the same as a man. Less than a fortnight later, Greens Senator Larissa Waters has taken on the issue of pay secrecy, seeking amendments to Australia’s Fair Work Act.

Women’s Agenda has a spotlight on Tracey Spicer with, “Tracey Spicer: “Don’t take no for an answer”“.  I share this particularly because at the end of the post is a 25 minute documentary on breast cancer (a topic close to my heart right now – literally), and on the importance of knowing your risk for cancer, and your breasts.

Claire Connelly writes for the Sydney Morning Herald, “Why we need to stop car crash ‘women in tech’ panels and actually break the glass ceiling” (don’t read the comments):

“By the same husband?” King asked. Yes, you heard right: Just a few minutes into a panel discussion Wojcicki was asked whether her children were of the same father.

Missing from the panel was a discussion of Wojcocki’s accomplishments in physics at Stanford University, of history and literature at Harvard, her not one but two Masters – one in science of economics from the University of California, the other in business admin from UCLA Anderson School of Management. Also omitted from the event was her professional growth at Google from the Doodle department to heading up the departments that created AdWords, Adsense and Google Analytics, (you know, the stuff that makes Google money), before becoming CEO of YouTube.

3CR is doing a series on Sounds of Feminism.

Thalia writes at Sacraparental, “Everyday Misogyny: Sexism is OK as long as it’s funny – so rules the Advertising Standards Authority“:

People complained much earlier than me and the Chairman (sic) of the Complaints Board dismissed it. Didn’t even let the complaint go to the Complaints Board.


Because the Chairman thought it was funny.

Family and Parenting

Emily at Mama Said writes, “Before I was his mum“:

Oh, I was such a great parent before I had kids. I knew exactly how to parent.

I was supermarket tutter (I would never give my child a kinder surprise just because they asked for it), I was a smirker on planes (I would never put a child on a plane late at night – I mean you’re just asking for trouble), I was a eye roller over my latte (my child would be well behaved in cafes!)

And I was so breathtakingly wrong. I don’t even know where to begin. Here are some of my dumbest pre-kid ideas

Emily at Mama Said also writes, “When we share“:

I don’t really understand this idea that there are some things we are allowed to talk about and some things we are not allowed to talk about. It seems to suggest you’re allowed to say you’re a parent, but not what parenting is like for you. There doesn’t seem to be a master list that says which topics are OK and which ones aren’t. You’re allowed to tell family and friends about your life but only in person?

Stephanie at No Award writes, “on being a bilingual child“:

Steph was sort of raised in a multilingual household. Kind of. Sort of. Anyway it’s very complicated, and she has feelings about this beautifully written but very misleading post at The Toast: Exposure: On Raising a Bilingual Child.

Dr Christy Clark writes at The Australian Sociological Association, “Feminism and the terrifying dependency of children“:

For Australian women of my generation, many issues of structural gender inequality can seem far removed from their daily experiences and, thus, difficult to relate to. Many civil rights, which were only recently (and only partially) achieved, are easily taken for granted when you have grown up assuming access to them. For this reason, it is not uncommon for women to be shocked when confronted the ongoing reality of structural inequality when they become mothers and they suddenly find themselves falling into gendered roles and suffering from gendered disadvantage as a result. Given this fact, it is a shame that the dominant form of feminism in Australia – liberal feminism – does not deal particularly well with the structural inequalities faced by mothers.

Petra Bueskens writing for Online Opinion, “Keeping up supply: it isn’t only about the milk“:

The new norm is not to exclude women outright, but to exclude the particular embodied relationships women have with infants and young children (and, perhaps more fundamentally, that infants and young children have with their mothers). In the new model, liberalism has been surpassed by neo-liberalism: mothers are allowed in ‘the house’ (or out of the house as the case may be) but they and their babies are under pressure to minimise physical contact. As I have written recently, keeping up a ‘supply’ of milk and work is the new norm, which promotes ‘pumping’ over breastfeeding. These are, of course, not the same thing. The intimacy and bonding, the stroking and face-to-face contact, the intersubjective experience and embodied care are diminished in preference to disembodied ‘expressing’.

Health and Mental Health

A guest post at Mama Said, “GUEST POST: It’s OK to say yes“:

There is such a stigma when it comes to talking about medication for depression or anxiety, especially among those of us with young children. Postnatal depression effects 13% of new mothers in New Zealand according to Plunket. That is a shitload – yet among friends of mine, I would say that number is closer to 50%. The number of those who chose to medicate? Maybe 10% of that. But why? Why are we so loathe to take the magic little pills that can make all the difference?

Liz Barr at No Award writes, “R U OK? No, because turning mental health into a brand triggers my anxiety issues!“:

There’s a feeling you get in your gut when someone who doesn’t care about your mental health enough to ask any other day of the year asks, because a campaign told them to, RUOK?

Mate, if I wanted you to know, I wouldn’t want you to ask me today.

Erin Marie writes at Erinaree, “#Liptember special: Why women?“:

Throughout history, the standard patient upon which treatment and diagnostic strategies are based has been a 70kg (presumably white) man (source: Kulkarni). This means that social, biological and epidemiological differences between men and women, such as the structural and functional differences in women’s brains and endocrine systems, have been largely ignored. According to some researchers, factors such as gender related poverty, workplace inequalities (like discrimination or the pay gap) societal differences (like child-care responsibilities) and gender related violence have been under-emphasised in research. Additionally, prevalence rates for particular mental health issues between the genders, which in and of itself would seem to be a reason to dig more deeply into how women are affected.

Thalia at Sacraparental writes, “How to Support Someone with Postnatal Depression / Postpartum Depression: 9 Ideas“:

Postnatal depression – and all its cousins, like antenatal or prenatal depression, postnatal distress, and others – have traditionally been stigmatised and therefore hidden.

You may know very little real information about the signs of postnatal depression or how to help someone who is experiencing it. You may not know that there is good treatment available in most places.

One of the best places to go for information is this great New Zealand-based site, written by mental health practitioners: Mothers Matter.

Reproductive Health and Justice

Sara Holton, Heather Rowe, Jane Fisher and Maggie Kirkman write at The Conversation, “Few Australian women use long-acting contraceptives, despite their advantages“:

Few Australian women use long-acting reversible contraception, despite its advantages over other methods. These contraceptives offer women long-term, cost-effective, “fit-and-forget” contraception.

Long-acting reversible contraception (LARC) includes intrauterine devices (IUDs) and implants that are usually inserted in the upper arm. In contrast to other commonly used contraceptives, such as the pill and condoms, LARC don’t require women who use them to do something to prevent pregnancy daily or every time they have sex.

Jenny Ejlak writes at The Sydney Morning Herald, “NSW’s abortion laws are outdated, anti-women and dangerous“:

Restrictions in Australian laws include abortions having to take place in prescribed facilities, compulsory counselling, gestational limits, parental notification for minors, government-appointed panels of doctors, residency requirements and criminal charges if women terminate pregnancies themselves. All these legal requirements are at odds with internationally agreed, evidence-based medical practice and public health principles. In fact, there is no jurisdiction in Australia that is fully compliant with United Nations and World Health Organisation guidelines on legal and service delivery standards for abortion. Not a single one.


Stephanie at No Award writes, “new pm who dis“:

In all practical terms, this isn’t much of a change.  Turnbull may believe in climate change and marriage equality, but there’s no sign he’s actually going to pursue any changes to Liberal policies there.  In his first press conference this morning, he declared his commitment to mandatory detention for asylum seekers, so the change of prime minister just puts a new face on the same old human rights violations.

Jennifer Wilson at No Place for Sheep writes, “Politics, policy makers, and religion“:

It’s impossible to argue that the religious beliefs of these two men have not affected their political judgements, not only in the matter of asylum seekers and refugees. However, asylum seeker policies illustrate with stark clarity how religious beliefs can be used as justification for barbarous practices, by Christians as well as by other religions.

Jennifer Wilson at No Place for Sheep also wrote prior to the change of leadership in Australia, “Minister for Women, you are CRAP at your job” (emphasis in original):

In what other portfolio would a minister who remains consistently silent about his responsibilities to the huge demographic covered by that portfolio, even in the face of a staggering number of the cohort dying, be permitted to retain his job? Yet Tony Abbott continues to claim for himself the title “Minister for Women.”

Has there ever been a greater political insult to Australian women than this? He’s having a laugh. He always was.

Jane Gilmore at Women’s Agenda writes, “How one photo changed a decade of politics of fear“:

That every Prime Minister since Howard has been too afraid of wedge politics to even attempt a change in the national conversation is a reflection on us all. We are complicit in paving the road to Manus and Nauru, where our government deliberately sets out to make arrival in Australia more terrifying than the torturous regimes of the Middle East or the refugee camps where millions suffer and die. And the most searing indictment of that policy is that it works. People who have known horrors beyond our imagining are so traumatised by what our government does to them, with our implicit permission, that 5 year old girls are attempting suicide. Think of any 5 year old you know, could you imagine that child to driven to suicide? Could you imagine if it was your child and you could do nothing to help her?

Rebecca Shaw writes at SBS, “Comment: George Christensen makes me embarrassed to be a Queenslander“:

As an embarrassing Queensland politician, Mr Christensen has it all. He not only uses his mouth to say embarrassing things in parliament, but he then uses his fingers to post those things all over social media, doubling down where others might not.

Kate Galloway writes, “Women and power (redux)“:

Equality for women requires fundamental structural change. Government needs to revisit policy on tax, employment conditions, superannuation, social security, and housing (amongst other things). Violence against women is now gaining some traction as a policy priority – but the time for inquiries and taskforces is over. Frontline services must be funded, including advocacy and emergency housing and resettlement assistance. Court services need to be established. Additionally, education for perpetrators needs to be rolled out. Ministerial platitudes are not enough.

Alex McKinnon writes at Junkee, “The Government’s New Anti-Extremism Booklet Links Greenies And “Alternative Music” To Terrorism“:

Tony Abbott might not be Prime Minister anymore, but his legacy of spectacular fuck-ups lives on in policy decisions made under his leadership that are only now beginning to see the light of day. It’s like digging for buried treasure, only instead of pirate’s gold you find relics of bizarre paranoia and little nuggets of racism.


I like a section where I have no idea how to classify posts and then I realise I don’t have to.

Liz Barr at No Award writes, “Clearing up some common misconceptions about Australian dragons“:

Unfortunately, there are a lot of myths about Australian dragons, both those native to the continent, and those that were introduced — deliberately or otherwise — by human activity.  So we thought we’d throw together a quick listicle, outlining things more people should know about draconis Australis and other dragons one might find in Australia

Ju at The Conversationalist writes about meal planning and some of the great recipes she’s discovered.  I’m looking forward to trying some of these myself.

Violence Against Women

All posts in this section contain a trigger warning for violence, rape, and/or harassment.

Jennifer Wilson at No Place for Sheep writes, “Give us shelter: why new DV funding isn’t anywhere near enough” (emphasis in original):

The Turnbull government’s announcement last week of $100 million worth of funding to address domestic violence is better than than silence, and goes to some small way towards acknowledging the enormous problem this country has with male violence against women.

But what it does not do, and for this appalling omission the government should be unrelentingly and loudly pilloried, is fund the urgent immediate need for frontline services such as refuges and community legal centres, both of which are a woman’s first stop when she’s forced to flee a dangerous domestic situation.

LudditeJourno at The Hand Mirror writes, “Chris Brown and fairy dust“:

The men we look up to matter.  They are part of what stitches together gendered violence, misogyny and sexist oppression.  Does Chris Brown teach young men to treat women, and all other genders with respect or disdain?  Is he the kind of man we want young men in Aotearoa to learn from, emulate, hold up as a role model?

Hell no.

Jennie Hill at Women’s Agenda writes, “Stop diminishing the killing of women. It’s not road rage, it’s murder“:

Road rage is stupid, and sometimes dangerous. Many of us have been a victim and know how scary it can be. However, the perpetrators of road rage are – while almost certainly suffering from anger management issues and shouldn’t be in charge of 2 tonnes of metal and rubber – almost never deliberate murderers.

This is in stark contrast to the alleged killer of 24 year old Tara Brown, Lionel Patea. On Wednesday he allegedly deliberately ran the mother of his young daughter off the road in Queensland, then bashed her while she was trapped in the car. Most of us would see such an act as murder, or attempted murder.

The Koori Woman writes, “There are no murdered Aboriginal women’s funerals on the news“:

Indigenous women are 34 times more likely to be hospitalised from domestic violence injuries than women in the rest of the community. Under reporting of domestic violence is much more prevalent among Indigenous women.

Distrust of police plays a huge factor in this. In a country where Indigenous women’s issues are pushed to the back burner to better accommodate white women’s problems ad nauseum the prevailing attitude is why bother?

Jane Gilmore writes at Women’s Agenda, “Family violence is not about poverty and it is about gender“:

Violence is gendered

We are not demonising men when we say that most violence is committed by men, or that most family violence is committed by men against women. There are obviously exceptions, but it is a reality that must be recognised in any effort to understand and change the causes of violence.

Michael Salter writes at The Ethics Centre, “Want men to stop hitting women? Stop talking about “real men”“:

In the same way, “real men don’t hit women” only makes sense within the culture of sexism that drives violence against women. Male anxiety about being a “real man” is at the very core of physical and sexual violence.

Susan Hopkins and Jenny Ostini write at Overland, “Domestic violence and the welfare state“:

While domestic violence is at last receiving some public attention, there are still certain aspects of the issue that remain relatively hidden. How Indigenous women are disproportionately subjected to domestic violence is rarely mentioned. How socioeconomic status makes some women more vulnerable not only to violence but to incarceration is another controversial issue avoided in the rush to take a stand.

Celeste Liddle writing for Daily Life writes, “Family violence isn’t something that happens to ‘unsuitable women’“:

If Devine were to examine intersectional feminism theory, she would find feminists identifying social disadvantage as an exacerbating factor – not the cause – of additionally oppressed women experiencing violence at a much higher rate. And the true common factor between all DV cases is that it’s a gendered issue in which most of the victims are women and most of the perpetrators are men.

In other words, to state plainly that poverty is the cause of domestic violence ignores the gendered power which lies at its root.

Clem Bastow writes at Daily Life, “The problem with the ban against Chris Brown“:

Similarly, where Collective Shout and Melinda Tankard Reist campaigned widely to have the music video for Kanye West’s Monster banned, there was no such level of effort put into having Maroon 5’s controversial (and equally as disturbing) clip for Animals torn from the airwaves; again, according to the Tone Deaf interview, Collective Shout “didn’t have capacity to run a campaign at the time”.

Where is the outcry over the misogyny of The Decemberists, appearing at Byron Bay Bluesfest early next year, whose lyrics frequently concern the rape and mistreatment of women? Or is it okay because they’re not rappers, and folk music isn’t seen to “incite violence against women”? If you’re going to decry the misogyny inherent in music, then apply the same lens to metal, country, pop, rock and alternative artists.

In the wake of Straight Outta Compton‘s success, Scarlett Harris examines misogynoir in rap music and whether we can separate the men from their art.

Scarlett Harris writes at The Scarlett Woman, “Following Bill Cosby & Hugh Hefner Down the Rabbit Hole“:

In July it came out that in 2005 Bill Cosby admitted in a sworn deposition to buying Quaaludes with the intent to use them to rape women, not to “have sex with them” as headlines read.

Around the same time, former Playboy Playmate and Hugh Hefner’s “No. 1 Girlfriend” Holly Madison released an incriminating memoir, entitled Down the Rabbit Hole, about her time in the Playboy Mansion and how it often involved Quaalude-addled group sex with Hefner.


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