The 76th Down Under Feminists Carnival.

Pop Culture.

I wrote about Katy Perry’s insistence on appropriating other cultures.

I’m also at Bitch Flicks writing about physical and mental health on Orange is the New Black.

Still with OITNB, Morello has such a fractured relationship with romance she’s in prison for stalking her faux-fiancé.

“I Scream, You Scream, We All Scream for Feminism!” [Bitch Flicks]

The racial and sexual politics of Hitch. [The Hairpin]

Clementine Ford writes about the Girls on Film Festival in Melbourne from the 12th to 14th of September: “Where are the men’s film festivals?!” [Daily Life]

Race & Religion.

Racism in the job network. [The Koori Woman]

Where was the Native American representation at this years’ San Diego ComicCon? [The Travelling Unicorn]

Racism in the digital age. [The Anti-Bogan]

Qantas’ Recognise campaign “seems to be little more than corporate endorsements and photo opportunities for powerful figures to prove how much they like us.” [Rantings of an Aboriginal Feminist]

And she’s not the only one who’s got a problem with the campaign. [New Matilda]

Struggling to be a “traditional” Sudanese woman by a woman who has Sudanese heritage but was not raised there. [Redefining the Narrative]

“What is a Moderate Muslim, Anyway?” [Redefining the Narrative]

Navigating Islam and feminism in the 21st century. [Days Like Crazy Paving]

Evelyn Enduatta writes abouta pivotal time in the local history of my adoptive Yolŋu family…. [and] the introduction of wage labour relations in north-east Arnhem Land[;]… a case study in the nature and violence of alienation.” [Upswell]

“Just because you’re Aboriginal doesn’t mean you have to have an ‘Aboriginal’ job.” [ The Travelling Unicorn]

Violence Against Women. *trigger warning*

Clementine Ford sheds light on the savage beating of adult actress Christy Mack by her mixed martial arts fighter ex-boyfriend War Machine. [Daily Life]

There’s probably domestic violence in your workplace. [Women’s Agenda]

Examining the link between animal abuse and intimate partner violence. [SMH]

How liveable are our cities if women aren’t safe? [Daily Life]

Rape culture in politics. [The Hand Mirror]

Instead of devising beauty products that help women prevent their rapes, maybe we should be telling men not to rape. [National Union of Students Women’s Department]

LGBTQI*.

The tragic tale of Australia’s (alleged) first trans man. [Daily Life]

Thinking about trans identities in primary school. [Sal Gold Said So]

Sex & Relationships.

Are you putting out enough to justify your cost per (male partner’s) orgasm? [Daily Life]

“The kids are [having anal sex], let’s make sure they’re alright.” [Daily Life]

The infamous Brocklesnitch (aka Rebecca Shaw) on those “marriage vouchers”:

“Perhaps it might be more useful for the Government to focus more on things like housing affordability, availability of jobs, and letting young people access the welfare system rather than funnel millions of dollars into a counselling voucher scheme.” [SBS]

So Sam de Brito wrote a column about seeking the female orgasm and Junkee ridiculed it thusly.

Asexuality: the next sexual orientation frontier. [Cosmopolitan]

Physical & Mental Health *trigger warning*.

Going undercover as a surrogate mother. [Daily Life]

Correlating breast cancer with abortion discourages women from pursuing their reproductive rights and diminishes the devastation of breast cancer. [New Matilda]

Working with ichthyosis. [Carly Findlay]

In the wake of Robin Williams’ suicide asking RUOK is not the answer. [Culture, Nurture, Nature: Views, Reviews, Rants]

Another thoughtful response to Williams’ death. [The Hand Mirror]

Clem Bastow writes heartbreakingly about never being “enough”:

“You don’t tell your boyfriend, or your parents, or your friends, or your kind therapist that you’re thinking about all these things, because you figure it’s not worth being upset about after all these years, even though you are. You see people go through far worse things and continue the ‘It could have been much worse!’ charade, even though some days you feel so sad you want to lie down on the carpet for a week. Why can’t you just get over it? Why can’t you Think Positive About It All? Why would anyone write you a letter about such small things that it’s not worth being upset about, Dear Young Person?

“Young Person, you think a lot about all of these things. There are so many others: you laugh off your Bipolar 2 diagnosis as ‘the straight-to-video sequel to a real mental illness'; your plummeting weight during a two-year spell overseas is just ‘Los Angeles, lol!'; the nights you eat Vitamin C tablets for dinner are fine because ‘Other people are poorer'; the guy who makes you wear a horse-bit to bed is ‘great comedy material!'; the death of your dear dog at just five years of his young life ‘isn’t as bad as it would have been if he’d been around for 15 years, I guess.’ It never seems to be quite enough to be upset about, not really, truly upset, like some people have the right to be. Not poor enough, not depressed enough, not beset by grief enough, not abused enough.” [I Believe You, It’s Not Your Fault]

Blindness in speculative fiction. [ A.C. Buchanan]

My Decision/Kei a au te Whakataunga is a New Zealand-based campaign to shed light on health care professionals who refuse to provide or refer productive health services. [The Hand Mirror]

And there’s no shame in making these health care professionals known so that people in need of reproductive health care don’t make the mistake of visiting them. [The Hand Mirror]

“Abortions Don’t Cause Cancer Any More Than Parties Do.” [The Conversation]

Women in the Workplace.

The problem with Lean In:

“There’s a bigger debate to be had here about whether care work is valued enough (it’s not), whether the needs of children are prioritised appropriately (they’re not), and whether the desire by both men and women to spend time with their children is accepted (it’s not), but let’s at least agree that eliminating child care struggles is crucial for undoing sexist gender-role divisions. Where women can’t get to work they can’t achieve personal career goals, but nor can they claim the kind of decision making power that comes with income.” [Daily Life]

Australia still has an equal pay problem. [Women’s Agenda]

On the persistence of the pay gap: from penal colony to glass ceiling. [UNSW School of Business]

Ban bossy, be the boss. [Daily Beast]

It’s all well and good to feature a panel about the politics of sex work as part of Sydney’s Festival of Dangerous Ideas, but perhaps it should, I don’t know, feature some sex workers? [Sex, Lies & Duct Tape]

Miscellaneous & General Feminism.

“Do not hold me to the standards that you have internalised. Do. Fucking. Not.” [Facebook]

Deborra-Lee Furness on Australia’s anti-adoption culture. [The Hoopla]

Melbourne schoolgirls were inspired to Kickstart their own “feminist collective” in the wake of Women Against Feminism and after “studying the character of ‘Curly’s Wife’ in John Steinbeck’s Of Mice & Men.” [ABC]

Helpful hints for overcoming Tall Poppy Syndrome. [No Award]

Friday Hoyden: Emma Goldman. [Hoyden About Town]

Diversity and rebellion in Life at 9. [Hoyden About Town]

How to home school a preschooler. [Free Range in Suburbia]

Five reasons why Women Against Feminism actually need feminism. [The Conversation]

Are men better writers than women? No, they just have more time to write. [Overland]

“Political correctness gone mad” is more about not being an asshole. [TheVine]

What Kevin Andrews’ speech at the World Congress of Families might have sounded like. [Brocklesnitch]

More on protesting the World Congress of Families. [Gladly, The Cross-Eyed Bear]

The problem with limited-edition, girl-focused Lego. [Hoyden About Town]

Movies: (Men & Women Can’t Just Be) Friends with (Biological) Kids*.

 

I had high hopes for Friends with Kids. Not knowing much about the premise aside from the fact that the movie centred around two friends who decide to have a baby together without the romantic attachment, and the fact that Megan Fox and the cast of Bridesmaids was in it, I was looking forward to it.

But it failed to live up to the hype I’d created in my mind. Don’t get me wrong, ruminating on it, I thought the characters were real, gritty, likable and infuriating at the same time; much like Bridesmaids. I applaud Jennifer Westfeldt for writing such human characters (she also starred in, produced and directed the flick. Go girl!), but I just couldn’t get behind their motivations.

The story begins with Julie (Westfeldt) and Jason, two besties who see the affect children have on their friends’ marriages, and decide to have a baby together whilst still seeing other people, so they have the best of both worlds. What troubled me about this scenario was that alternative means of baby-having were never discussed. In America, it’s easy (in comparison to other countries, like Australia) to adopt a baby as a well-off, single woman. I can’t imagine it would be hard to add Jason’s name to the birth certificate as the father. Or how about surrogacy? Unbelievably, IVF isn’t discussed at all and Julie and Jason actually have intercourse to conceive their child. A woman of Julie’s age wouldn’t likely get pregnant on the first try, but low and behold, nine months later out pops baby Joe.

For what it’s worth, I think the whole idea of raising a baby with a friend is a great idea! It’s not for me, but who’s to say how they’ll feel when their biological clock is ticking and they’re without a partner? But—inevitably, as the trope goes—hormones and jealously over Megan Fox and Ed Burns, who play Jason and Julie’s lovers, respectively, get in the way, and Julie confesses her love for Jason about a year after Joe’s birth. Jason has just moved in with Fox’s Mary Jane and doesn’t feel the same way. Julie moves out of the apartment building she and Jason both live in (in different apartments) in Manhattan and relocates to Brooklyn, “two trains and a $70 cab fare away”, to escape the pain of seeing him. A year later, Jason comes to the same realisation Julie had—that they’d be perfect together—but Julie’s having none of it. Eventually, she succumbs and they live happily ever after, proving that men and women can’t be friends!

One other pet peeve I had with the movie was the sheer luxury the characters lived in. For a film set in New York, it’s highly unlikely that everyone in a friendship circle would have immaculate rent-controlled apartments they live in alone and dine at “$100 a plate” restaurants (sound like another Manhattan-set story you know…?), especially when Julie’s job is “deciding who to give [a rich man’s] money to”: charity work, essentially. When she laments that she can’t afford to send Joe to a $20,000 a year private school in Manhattan, it really doesn’t mesh with her characters’ story which has, up to then, been a yuppie existence of the abovementioned $70 taxi rides, ski trips and $1400 worth of baby blankets…

*Blanket spoiler alert.

Related: Bridesmaids Review.

Image via IMDb.

Movies: What to Expect When You’re Expecting—Adoption, Choice & Bacne*.

 

Aside from all the happy endings and Brooklyn Decker’s unrealistic sneeze-push delivery, there were some poignant pregnancy and child rearing issues at play in What to Expect When You’re Expecting, a star-studded flick in the vein of Valentine’s Day, New Years Eve and He’s Just Not That Into You, which takes only its name from the ’80s self-help book.

Out of all the children being brought into the world/movie, Jennifer Lopez’s journey is the most realistic. When her and her husband, Alex, realise they’re being fast-tracked to adopt a baby in Ethiopia, the cracks in their relationship begin to show. Alex is worried he’s not ready for a child and won’t love a baby that’s not biologically his. Lopez’s Holly has a breakdown when she loses her job after they spend up big on baby items and move into a house they can’t afford. “I’m the one who made us spend all our 401K on three rounds of IVF. I’m the one who can’t do what a woman is supposed to be able to do [get pregnant],” she cries.

As I’ve written before, I don’t want biological children and I don’t personally agree with IVF for the reason that women like Alex shouldn’t be made to feel like they’re failures by society for not being able to conceive a child or not wanting them at all. I also think adoption should be made easier as a first option. I’m glad the movie chose to show this (along with Anna Kendrick’s character’s miscarriage).

Weight loss reality show trainer Jules Baxter, played by Cameron Diaz, comes to the realisation that a woman’s body is no longer her own when she’s carrying a child to term. “Everybody’s got an opinion not only about me, but about my baby before it’s even born,” she laments. Everyone wants to touch her, to weigh in on her and her partner’s circumcision debate, and to reduce her mobility to bed rest.  When Jules collapses on the set of her show, a doctor confines her to a hotel room for the rest of her pregnancy. “I’m sorry, but you don’t have a choice,” the doctor informs Jules when she protests. With the U.S. becoming more conservative by the second, what with their Personhood movements and restrictions on insurance covering birth control, so many of the choices women have regarding their body are becoming scarce. The irony of exercising the right to choose to have a baby means giving up the right to choose what happens to it whilst a baby is growing in there for Jules.

This is also reflected in Wendy’s (Elizabeth Banks) experience, who is the baby specialist with her own baby book and baby shop but no baby. She’s been trying with her husband Gary for years and only when she gives up do the couple naturally conceive. Wendy the übermum’s pregnancy doesn’t go to (birth) plan—but does come with chronic gas, no “glow” and bacne—which consisted of a drug-free vaginal delivery. Once the pain kicks in and her cervix fails to dilate at the hospital, she changes her mind and begs for an epidural and the doctors advise her she’ll have to go ahead with a C-section. Despite doing “everything right”, when it comes down to the health of baby and mum, Wendy’s choice isn’t the right one.

*Blanket spoiler alert.

Image via Join HD.

TV: Adoption, Men’s Rights & Desperate Housewives.

 

The moment Susan’s daughter Julie rocked up pregnant and with the intent to give the baby up for adoption, I knew there was trouble in the air. Susan tries to sabotage Julie’s efforts to find an adoptive family and, last night, she found out rambunctious little Porter Scavo from across the street is the father.

While initially Susan was appalled at the prospect of having a part-Scavo grand-offspring, she changes her tune when Porter decides he’d like to raise the baby. Susan offers her help to get Porter a lawyer and look after the baby when it comes. Susan expressly goes against Julie’s wishes and tells Julie that “birth fathers have rights”.

Well, in the current political climate of the U.S. (which has been popping up a lot on television in recent weeks), I had to double check that the foetus residing in a woman’s womb in the Western world is subject to her wishes, not the baby daddy’s.

While in some developing countries, men do have the legal backing to request their baby not be aborted or given up for adoption, this is certainly not automatically true in the U.S. I suppose Porter could apply for custody of the baby and relieve Julie of all her responsibilities but, as she puts it, how do you think she’ll feel having the baby she gave up for adoption living across the street and being babysat by her overbearing mother?!

I really feel for Julie here: last week she told her mother she doesn’t want to raise a child as a single mother as she’s seen what Susan went through. My reasoning is that she should have just got an abortion, but if that doesn’t align with her values (or she found out about the pregnancy too late), I understand her wanting to give it up to a family that can take care of the baby and give it the love it needs.

But I cannot believe (actually, Susan’s kind of flakey, so I can) that Susan is advocating for her daughter to lose her right as a woman to chose what happens to her body and what comes out of it in favour of upholding the patriarchy. Look, I don’t think that Porter’s feelings shouldn’t be heard and that they’re not valid, but at the end of the day, the father is young, unemployed and undereducated, living at home with his mum who doesn’t want another baby around and the mother doesn’t want the child, so who do you think the courts will side with?

Related: 2 Broke & Tampon-less Girls.

Grey’s Anatomy: “You Killed Our Baby”.

Image via The Voice of TV.

TV: Grey’s Anatomy Final Asks “When Does Life Begin?”

 

Last night’s Grey’s final saw the seeming collapse of Derek and Meredith’s marriage over Meredith tampering with the Alzheimer’s clinical trial just as baby Zola came into their lives, pending the finalisation of the adoption papers.

Derek chided Meredith for swapping the active drug with the placebo for Richard’s wife, Adele, asking her how she couldn’t differentiate between right and wrong. Meredith replied that to her, things aren’t just right and wrong; there are shades of grey (hello, her last name’s Grey!), and that she’d do it all over again if it meant that Adele got better.

Derek should know this. Back in season five, when Derek introduces Meredith to his mother, she exclaimed that Meredith was good for him: he’s black and white and she’s grey.

But it didn’t stop him walking out on his wife for failing to see her reasoning, much like Owen failed to see Cristina’s reasoning, and kicked her out after she scheduled an abortion without his input.

Yes, that’s right: Cristina’s pregnant, much to her dismay.

She doesn’t want a baby. Never has, and never will. But Owen can’t understand this, and pushes her to see his side.

Now, this is where it starts to get messy. I’m not ashamed to say I’m staunchly pro-choice, so much so that I take the line of reasoning that if in doubt, abort. Especially if the woman in question is young, a victim of rape or incest, or can’t afford to have a baby. To me, life begins when the foetus is out of the womb and has taken its first breath. But I agree with Owen in that Cristina should have allowed him to have a say in the matter of abortion. But I also think that if Owen married Cristina knowing she didn’t want children but thinking he could persuade her anyway, he’s an idiot.

Cristina echoes this notion somewhat when she informs her husband she’s pregnant. Owen is overjoyed; Cristina has a migraine.

She tells him flat out that she doesn’t want a baby, and he responds with, “Well, you have one.”

“Are you getting all lifey on me?!” she remarks in disbelief, while he proceeds to ask her how far along she is, and if the foetus has feet and hands. How dare he tell her when life begins, she reasons.

While the storyline is clearly personal, not medical, it seems that Owen leans towards pro-life, though that could just be because the foetus in question contains his DNA. I don’t think doctors should push their personal opinions onto a pregnant woman who is coming to terms with the “unwanted tissue” inside her. I would go as far to say that I don’t think doctors with pro-life beliefs should be practicing medicine.

Still, Cristina is absolutely right when she says she’s not “compromising” on a baby: “You don’t have half a baby!… You don’t ‘give a little’ on a baby.”

While it’s perhaps easier for the father to bow out on raising their biological child, mothers usually don’t have that (ad)option. Cristina just plain and simply doesn’t. Want. A. Baby. But if she has it, she knows she’ll love it. (That’s the risk women run when they give their children up for adoption.) Owen shouldn’t have put her in the position to do something she doesn’t want to do (“It’s not like pizza or Thai.”), thinking she will “come around” later.

While Derek and Meredith deal with the fall out of Meredith’s “wrong” decision, how will Owen deal with Cristina’s decision? Was it “right” or “wrong”? And how will Grey’s Anatomy continue to discuss the “when does life begin?” question?

Related: The Underlying Message in Grey’s Anatomy‘s “Superfreak” Episode.

Elsewhere: [The Feel of Free] Cristina Yang + You Can’t Compromise on a Baby.

[Marinagraphy] Resisting Motherhood in Grey’s Anatomy.

Images via VideoBB.