Heya! Welcome to the Down Under Feminists Carnival, for articles of feminist interest by Australian and New Zealander writers. Sorry for the delay - I hope the articles here can make up for them!
I got close to 60 submissions, wow! Unfortunately I can’t fit them all in here, but I’ll do my best.
Theme of Choice: Creativity
Given that this is my area of (relative) interest, yet one I don’t often see a lot in feminist writing circles, I wanted to highlight feminist perspectives of creativity - production, consumption, fame, media, getting ideas, feminist creative heroes, anything of the sort. I did get a few entries in - yay!
We start off with Helen’s call for resistance against the misogyny rampant within geek culture:
We shall not argue here about whether geek culture is broadly misogynistic, predatory and hostile. We shall talk about the fact that in this place, in my small city, I have observed geek culture embracing all of those things, that I have been on the receiving end of them, that I have been an observer of them, again and again and again. Stalking, rape, the enabling of rape, rape apologism, sexual assault of various kinds, opportunistic harassment, predation, collusion to trivialise boundaries and consent issues, violation of consent, coercion, marginalisation and broadly, a deep, vile and insidious culture of loathing and sexual violence. This is not theory; this is what has happened and what continues to happen. It happens your cons, in your city, in your gaming groups, on your streets, on your internet, at your parties, in your forums, on your blogs and in your workplaces. And this is my big Fuck You to all of it.
Karen Healy has major problems with how teenagers’ sexuality is portrayed in young adult fiction - and in life in general:
Some teenagers have sex, some do not. Some grow up informed and in a position to make good decisions, some do not. Some make decisions about when it is appropriate for them to have sex. Some change their minds. Some have decisions made for them about when it is appropriate to have sex; sometimes they are okay with that and sometimes they are really not. Some of them - far too many of them, where “far too many” is any number more than “zero” - are sexually assaulted, harassed, or shamed.
While discussing the Miles Franklin Award (Australia’s biggest award for literature that involves Australiana), Lucy Tartan ponders women in writing:
I inherited the concept of a subject devoted to women’s writing […] It’s an anomaly. It assumes that there is a discernible thing that can be called women’s writing, that it’s different from writing by men in significant and meaningful ways, and that it’s worth studying - a set of assumptions viewed as naive at best by many, since the entire notion that the category ‘women’ exists in any meaningful way is not one that academics should now persist with. I don’t feel, with so many books out there urgently needing to be read, we have the time to debate this in the subject. We take ‘woman’ at face value and look to see what the books themselves have to say about what that actually means.
Beppie pays tribute to Elisabeth Sladen, better known as Dr. Who companion Sarah Jane Smith, who passed away in April age 63 from cancer.
Ally tries to overcome “activism fatigue” by going to the movies…and finds something worth commentating on anyway - this time about Conviction and the (non)-casting of fat actors.
Immigration / Migration
Love and Goliath is a blog that details the journey of an Australian woman and her asylum seeker husband as they deal with the visa application process (as someone waiting for permanent residency in Australia, I can attest that it is a major pain). Check out their posts on Loving vs Virginia (the landmark case for interracial couples in USA), dealing with the question “who are you to criticise?”, illegal immigration & sexual servitude, and the emotional toll brought on by the visa process.
this is a false premise because the people who believe in the “when in rome” doctrine have no intention of liking or treating certain people as equals. because people who do everything right & try to fit in still face problems, still get excluded. they are still “them” and “migrants” and other.
Fat Heffalump wants you to Stop That Shit - of judging other people’s bodies:
Because I know it’s bullshit. I know that every single person in this world should have the right to look, dress, and appear however suits them. I also know that I have absolutely no right at all to judge another human being on their appearance. And finally, I know that it only poisons me in the long run anyway.
BlueBec recalls and ponders her attractiveness as a fat woman (who is also actively polyamorous):
Because I’ve been on the receiving end of “they’re interested in YOU?” as well as sometimes thinking myself “why are they interested in them?”* And it’s not fun. Not just not fun because it clearly states that I am not a sexually attractive and overall attractive individual, but also because it suggests that the person who is attracted to me has defective taste or is broken in some way.
Recently the Twitter hashtag #thingsfatpeoplearetold made waves with its striking honesty, heartbreak, and also power. Discussions and personal views on this come from Fat Heffalump (also here and here in relation to doctor diagnoses) and Dr Samantha Thomas.
Fat Heffalump also has some questions for thin white women of the media, compares the advertising efforts of two fashion lines (interestingly owned by the same company), and experiments with not using makeup.
Boganette calls out a fatphobic ad in a bridal magazine.
BlueBec wonders about her caution levels, something she’s noticed recently:
So why have I slowed down more than others I know, though technically less than others… clearly it’s a growing up thing. I’m far more aware of my mortality than I used to be. I’ve almost died at least once now, so it’s not like I believe I never will.
Women are not allowed to accept compliments. (Especially about our looks.) It’s not considered modest. This is a corruption of modesty – if modesty is something you value – because it’s enforced. Being made to deny one’s value, regardless of whether one agrees or not, doesn’t reflect any quality in oneself – apart from following social norms! It’s just a socially enforced way of making sure that women put ourselves down at every public opportunity.
Current Affairs & Politics
Oh, how we will always look back in fondness on the way she secured our affections with her naughty little case of reticence, even as we turned what was almost certainly her genuine concerns about how it usually goes down for a girl marrying The Heir To The Throne into a tawdry cliche about Waity Katie and her obvious desperate ovarian-driven need to Capture A Man.
Jane Douglas uses the incident of an incendiary tweet during ANZAC Day as an educational moment for identifying abusers:
I warn my kids about people like Jim Wallace in an effort to abuser-proof them. I tell them that bullies and abusers function by fooling us that it not the person who said or did something wrong who is at fault, but rather the poor sod who made an embarrassing fuss about it. I tell them that this is an evil lie.
Other ANZAC Day-related posts include The Conscience Vote’s call that ANZAC Day is not for playing politics, another critique of the ANZAC Day tweet by Chrys Stevenson, and Penguin Unearthed’s tribute to her grandfather who served in WWI.
Chrys Stevenson’s letter about Australian PM Julia Gillard’s seeming hypocrisy (stating support for “traditional values” while also “living in sin” got her on air! Have a listen to her interview with Derryn Hinch on 3AW. [MP3 Link]
Helen analyses The Monthly’s article on Julian Assange and issues of consent.
blue milk has some doubts over the quotes by UK Conservative Party Minister David Willets (regarding his claim that feminism is to blame for income inequalities between men and women).
The increasing tendency of people who self-identify as women’s rights activists and feminists to take on a patronising, moralising and judgmental stance which denies other women choice and freedom has started to seriously destroy my pride in calling myself a feminist. This issue is one which has reared it’s ugly head in the guise of many different social issues lately. I dub these women patriarchial feminists, or patronising feminists, creating a feminarchy to replace the patriarchy they supposedly want to rid the world of. Equally though, people who don’t identify as feminists are using these arguments against women’s rights and freedoms.
The Melbourne Feminist Collective has come under fire for their choice of speakers for their upcoming conference. Hexy explains the problematic panel and shares her letter to them. Nix Williams gives a trans person-based view of the conference’s issues.
tigtog isn’t offended by your use of discriminatory words; she’s contemptuous of them.
Joanna Nicol has some concerns about construction upgrades by local councils with relation to disabled people.
Deborah Russel shares powerful passages about gender and womanhood from Ani Mikaere and feminism with relation to the poverty-striken from Samantha Sacks. She also compares how two different classes in two different countries deal with Easter celebrations in school.
blue milk looks at various aspects of motherhood: feminist motherhood from the perspective of black women, the lack of discussion about “mother love”, and glrlie-girl culture for kids.
I’m not sure who’s doing the next one, but keep an eye out on the Down Under Feminists Carnival website for the next round of submissions :)