On the (Rest of the) Net.

A WWE Diva tweeted about sexism and misogyny and the internet proved her theory. [Uproxx]

Have all fictional women on TV been raped? [Batty Mamzelle]

Another piece in defence of Amber Rose. [Bitch]

The men’s rights movement doesn’t help men at all. [Junkee]

Calling out racism is great, but we need to be mindful that we aren’t perpetuating stereotypes and speaking for minorities when we stand up for them. [Daily Life]

Why are Aussies so shit at dating? [Spook Magazine]

Is working on your art while your partner supports you anti-feminist? [Musings of an Inappropriate Woman]

On the (Rest of the) Net.

Madonna-Drake-Kiss-1

Five times Madonna sucked the life-force out of young ingenues. [Maxim]

And the sexual politics of that kiss. [Role Reboot]

I wrote about the connection between Crossroads and Grey’s Anatomy. [Bitch Flicks]

Mad Men‘s best literary references. [Vulture]

A bitch is an opinionated woman who’s not especially beautiful while doing it. [Daily Life]

Providing women with safety tips is a moot point because women are attacked everywhere under all circumstances. [Bullshit Blog]

How the way we speak about Hillary Clinton may influence her presidential bid. [Think Progress]

Here are some practical ways to address the epidemic of violence against women in Australia instead of perpetuating the “monster myth”. [Birdee, White Ribbon]

eat sleep rape repeat coachella

What the “Eat, Sleep, Rape, Repeat” tshirt can teach us about rape culture at music festivals. [Vice]

Janelle Monae is not for male consumption. [Gradient Lair]

Wishing rape on a rapist further perpetuates rape culture. [Daily Life]

“Men, Stop Being Dicks About Condoms.” [Spook Magazine]

“In Defence of the Selfie.” [Spook Magazine]

Have you ever noticed that ubiquitous rom com scene in which the female protagonist wonders out loud whether she “had sex” with the male love interest while drunk? Honey, if you have to ask, it’s rape. [Shakesville]

How celebrities sharing their abortion stories may change the way we think about and legislate reproductive rights. [Flavorwire]

Images via Watchcloud, Jezebel.

On the (Rest of the) Net.

greys anatomy you are the sun

Following on from last season’s “lean in” motif, this season on Grey’s Anatomy it’s all about its women taking time for themselves, whether that’s personal or professional. [Bitch Flicks]

Personal space is a feminist issue. [Sociological Images]

Loving football (and, indeed, wrestling) doesn’t make you a bad feminist. [Kill Your Darlings]

How will you know when you’ve made it? For me I think it will be when I’ve been published a) on Daily Life and b) in the American market; headhunted for something; verified on Twitter; and when those I admire in the same industry see me as a peer. How will you know? [The Hairpin]

And Rachel Hills ponders what it means to have made it, and ways to pass the time while you’re waiting to. [Musings of an Inappropriate Woman]

Young, single and successful women are increasingly living alone in affluent cities. [Daily Life]

In defence of Amber Rose:

“Amber Rose is hot. Amber Rose is also a mom. Amber Rose was also a wife. And if T.I. can be a convicted felon who’s rapped about sex, guns, and drugs and still be ‘father knows best’ on The Family Hustle once a week, why is a sexy woman suddenly an unfit mother just because she posts photos in her lingerie? If you don’t like what you think she represents, make sure you’re just as vocal about these less-than-angelic men raising children while bragging about one-night stands and trappin’. If they’re just entertaining and expressing themselves, then so is she. If they’re just living up to an image and a brand, then so is she.” [The Daily Beast]

And while we’re at it, in defence of Rihanna. [Buzzfeed]

Can World Wrestling Entertainment #GiveDivasaChance to be in the main event of WrestleMania 32? [Between the Ropes]

It wasn’t Jackie’s responsibility to get the details of her rape correct; it was Rolling Stone‘s. [The Guardian]

Stop calling women crazy. [Birdee]

ICYMI: the ties that bind us in menstruation and do you ever feel like you’re trapped behind a screen?

If these links haven’t sated your appetite for feminist goodness, the 83rd Down Under Feminists Carnival has arrived featuring much more from Australia and New Zealand. [Opinions @ BlueBec]

Image via Tumblr.

Trapped Behind a Screen.

writer at computer

Do you ever feel like the banalities of daily life just get too much and your inner id is clawing to get out and experience the world beyond your computer screen?

That’s how I’m feeling at the moment. It’s not like I wake up every morning and dread going to my day job, which I certainly have in the past, but work, am I right?

I think it’s more of a FOMO thing that’s making my inner child scream from within me. Walking to work, I pass buildings that I’d rather be inside of or would rather be passing in another city. At my desk, I check Twitter and catch up on blogs and it feels like everyone is doing much cooler things than I am, making their dreams come true and contributing to society in a way that I can’t when I’m trapped behind a screen in an unfulfilling job.

FOMO is new to me. I’m rarely envious of other people save for the passing pang of professional rivalry when an acquaintance has a piece published somewhere I’d like to be published or the good-natured “I’m sooo jealous” when a friend is off on an overseas trip. And spare me the “maybe you need to switch off from technology and social media and get out and do something”; social media is often the only thing that keeps me connected to the things I want to be doing, the places I want to be and the people I want to meet. The job I’m in pursuit of doing full-time—freelance writing—will see me spending more time behind the screen so that’s not an option.

This discontentment is a finite state: I have plans in place that will see me living my best life. Unfortunately, said day job is an integral part of those plans because money. And time to make that money.

In the grand scheme of things the time I’m biding is a drop in the ocean. That’s a good analogy, actually: you know when you’ve just pulled up at the beach after a long road trip to get there and the water is calling to you and you just want to run to it but your mum’s there insisting on another sunscreen application and dad’s unloading the trunk with towels and eskies and the like. My future life, the one I’m yearning to be living right now, is calling to me like the ocean from behind the windscreen.

Image via Sarah Ayoub.

Blood Bonds: The Sisterhood of Menstruation.

instagram period

Periods are a hot topic at the moment. There was the recent Instagram furor that saw a photo of a fully-clothed woman in bed with a blood stain on her trackies and sheets banned for violating the social media platform’s guidelines and Rebecca Shaw—also known as the holy saviour of the interwebs, Brocklesnitch—wrote at Kill Your Darlings about the menstruation taboo. Like a period, these both came around the time that I had also been thinking and talking about the bonds of blood that signify womanhood.

A female friend and colleague and I were discussing the ins and outs of periods. Topics on the agenda included trepidation about going back on/discontinuing the pill, men’s fear of anything to do with menstruation, and the miracle of being able to go about our daily lives whilst shedding parts of our internal organs on a monthly basis.

My friend assumed she was the only woman she knew not on the pill, while I increasingly feel I’m alone in my medicated state. I’ve been on the pill continuously for ten years (cue blood clot panic), originally to regulate the intensity of my periods, and now mostly for the convenience of being able to choose when to bleed and the fear of breaking out. (I don’t have unprotected sex regularly enough to use the pill for this purpose.)

On the topic of men, I reminisced about a male former housemate, who couldn’t even speak the name of a pantyliner when I accidentally left one unwrapped in the bathroom. Additionally, such frank period talk in the vicinity of men is usually met with groans and the covering of ears. Sorry (not sorry), but if you’re an adult man and you exist in the world with women, periods are a fact of life. The fact of life, if you will. Deal with it.

Something that becomes so routine as to not even phase you is actually pretty amazing when you think about it. Comedian Cameron Esposito’s routine about periods, above, reiterates my point as she hilariously and disgustingly muses about chunks “the size of strawberr[ies]… coming out of my body” but still endeavours to “have that report for you by tomorrow.” Add it to the checklist of things that many women have to do above and beyond the roles of men.

All of this chatter would indicate that periods also serve as a female bonding ritual. “I wonder if men bond over foreskins the way women bond over periods,” my friend asked. Firstly, eww. Secondly, while there is the brit milah in Jewish culture, nothing comes close to the social and cultural rituals surrounding menstruation.

Guru Nanak, the founder of Sikhism, asserts that menstruation is a god given process essential to the creation of any human being. In Indian Hinduism menarche is a cause for celebration with the young woman in question receiving gifts, not unlike Judaism’s bat mitzvah celebration which focuses more on physical age than puberty. Similarly, in Native American tradition puberty and first blood are cause for celebration with menstruating women’s power revered. Shaktism has perhaps the most positive attitude towards periods, with the annual fertility festival Ambubachi Mela taking place in June in which the menstruation of goddess Kamakhya is celebrated.

The act of purchasing sanitary products may not be highly anticipated (and don’t even get me started on the added burden this puts on homeless women and women on Nauru, for example), but the sharing of them, whether that be between mothers and daughters or other family members/adults of influence in a young woman’s life at puberty, friends or other women who happen to be using a bathroom in tandem, is a ritual in itself. While Carrie may be a horror story about the denial of womanhood, many other films and TV have a more realistic portrayal of blood bonds: think the power dyanmics at play when Carrie lends “Face Girl” Nina Katz a tampon on Sex & the City; White Chicks’ white friends offering them an assortment of sanitary products; and the “super jumbo tampon” scene in Mean Girls. Lauren Rosewarne even wrote a whole book about the pop cultural representations of periods.

For those who may not have authority figures or friends to teach them about the bloody birds and the bees, teen and women’s magazines such as Dolly and Girlfriend and websites like Birdee come with an abundance of information. This is not to mention the sanitary products bursting from their pages and attached to their covers as free samples.

The ostracision of periods in polite company and the freak outs that men have when confronted with them mean women only have each other to talk about periods with, creating a bond whether we like it or not. That the specifics of who is and isn’t on birth control; who has painful periods that land them in the emergency room; the age of menarche; and, for older women, when their periods stopped are discussed freely amongst friends and even acquaintances is a testament to both the bonding rituals and banality of periods. The very phenomenon of synced cycles for women existing in close quarters is proof enough of the sisterhood of menstruation for better or for worse.

Elsewhere: [Daily Life] Should We Be Treating Periods as a Feminist Issue?

[Kill Your Darlings] An Inconvenient Truth: Social Stigma & Menstruation.

[Vice] For Homeless Women, Having a Period Isn’t a Hassle—It’s a Nightmare.

[New Matilda] Sanitary Pads “A Fire Hazard”: The Realities of Life for Mothers and Children on Nauru.

[Amazon] Periods in Pop Culture: Menstruation in Film & Television by Lauren Rosewarne.

Image via Daily Life.

On the (Rest of the) Net.

Madame Tussauds re-appoints tissue attendant to deal with teary One Direction fans, London, Britain - 31 Mar 2015

The strange world of One Direction conspiracy theories. [Slate]

Clementine Ford on the lax parole conditions that saw Adrian Bayley free to rape and murder Jill Meagher two and a half years ago:

“The gut-wrenching irony is that Bayley was able to rape and murder the kind of woman our community values most because justice wasn’t pursued for the crimes he committed against the women that same community values least.” [The Age]

Periods aren’t a divine gift from the reproductive gods but a bodily function that we shouldn’t be ashamed of. I love this. As someone who’s been on birth control for over ten years primarily because it controls the intensity and frequency of my periods (I don’t have unprotected sex often enough to use it for that purpose) and who doesn’t want biological children, I thank Clem Bastow for giving me what feels like permission to view my period as a inconvenience that comes around every few months, costing me money. Sometimes this ideology can make me feel alienated from a feminism that celebrates periods. The recent Instagram furor that inspired this story doesn’t so much celebrate periods as position them as a fact of life that sometimes stains your sheets and underwear. More on this to come. [Daily Life]

Why Rachel Hills writes about sex. [Musings of an Inappropriate Woman]

Can you be a feminist and want to be beautiful? I’ve been thinking about this a bit lately, too. [Spook Magazine]

ICYMI: Why are women (and men) who haven’t had romantic success presumed gay?

Image via Yahoo!

Women Who Are Unsuccessful with Men Are Presumed Gay.

I’ve been single for pretty much my entire adult life. The total amount of time I’ve spent dating the handful of guys I have has totalled no more than six months as I get sick of them and crave my own time and space after about a month.

I’ve been very happily single for about four months. The chemistry I had with the last guy I dated fizzled out around then and I ain’t mad about it. I realised I’m probably not a relationship person and that I already have an awesome, lifelong relationship with myself. Being that I’m an introverted homebody who likes to spend as much time as possible alone I’m okay with it just being me for however long it takes to meet someone who I want to carve out time for and whose needs I want to put before my own, if that ever happens.

But it seems that other people have a really hard time accepting that a single woman can be happy with just herself. The amount of times I’ve been questioned with, “But don’t you want to find someone to have kids with and be with for the rest of your life?” are countless; the amount of times I’ve been asked if I’m gay even more so. Because a woman who’s unsuccessful with men must play for the other team, right?

I find this analogy laughable on so many levels. One, what makes you think I’d be any more successful with women if I did indeed swing that way? Secondly, as someone who takes a keen interest in feminism and social justice and has to school almost everyone I know in acceptance of the other, wouldn’t I already be out of the closet if there was one for me to come out of? (And I think I’ve hit the stereotype on the head there: feminist automatically means man-hating, hairy-legged lesbian. As of last night when I shaved my legs in preparation for an unseasonably warm Melbourne autumn day, only one of these was true.) Finally, it puts not subscribing to traditional, heteronormative, romantic pairings that include marriage and children and being gay in the same negative boat, implying not only that something’s wrong with both but that just because you aren’t one doesn’t mean you are the other, and vice versa.

Further to that, the latest accusation of my apparent sad, cat-loving (I actually prefer dogs) lesbianness came when I objected to the use of the word “gay” to describe something that was bad. Again, because you can’t be offended by minority slurs without being from that minority, right? Has anyone heard of being an ally?

And what if I never meet someone, get married and have kids? Is that to discount all the things I’ve done in the past 26 years—travelling overseas; being a published and paid writer, broadcaster and TV personality; being able to afford to live alone and fend for myself; having a university degree; completing internships and work experience with some of Australia’s most well-regarded publications; maintaining meaningful relationships that just so happen to not be romantic—and all the things I still want to and know I will do? Is marriage and babies the be all and end all?

Sometimes I wish I could wipe the slate clean of all the shitty people and their shitty ideas of how people and things should be and just start over surrounding myself with people who already share the same ideas as me. But it takes all kinds to make the world go around. I have to realise that their traditional notions of femininity are more about them than me: I and every other person who doesn’t fit these predetermined roles threaten what they have come to believe as right. It’d be great to go about my business as, oh I don’t know, an autonomous human being but I guess sometimes we just have to make peace with being relegated to setting examples for those too small minded to fathom that a single person can be a whole one.

Related: Celebrating the Single Life.

Hustle, Loyalty & Respect: Where I’m Taking My Career in 2015.