On the (Rest of the) Net.

The “coward’s punch” is far more rampant than violence against women, or so the current furore surrounding male street violence would have you believe. [Daily Life] 

Move over Beyonce, 2013 was Miley’s year. [Village Voice]

If porn stars could speak in schools, this is what they’d say. [New Statesman]

Yet another attempt to unpack the consumption of art created by abusers. [Bitch Flicks]

How Aussie Girls relate to their Lena Dunham-created counterparts. One of the best think pieces I’ve read about the show. [Kill Your Darlings]

Why we shouldn’t joke about incest in the wake of Lifetime’s Flowers in the Attic remake. [Here There Be Dragons]

Speaking of Flowers, is it anti-reading? [The New Yorker]

What if we spent as much mental energy worrying about homeless women as we did celebrities? [Jezebel]

On the (Rest of the) Net.

Sixteen-Candles-drunk-girl

Was Sixteen Candles the blueprint for the Steubenville rape? [Bitch Flicks]

How Hannah Horvath’s eBook would read IRL. [Nerve]

@ModernClueless makes a cameo at the Val party! While you’re following them, head on over and follow me, too. [Twitter]

Can we separate the art from the accused-pedophile, Woody Allen? [The Onion]

Beyonce blogged about gender equality. [Mother Jones]

Sexualising violence against women. [The Guardian]

And while we’re on the topic, check out Yolanda Dominguez’s photo series of real women in model poses. Ridonculous!

Stop calling yourself a feminist if all you’re really interested in talking about is how hard it is out there for the menz. [The Guardian]

Being a woman on the internet. [Pacific Standard]

Navigating teen witchdom. [The Lifted Brow]

Fat on film: Brodie Lancaster muses on how it makes her feel when fat characters are the butt of the joke. [Rookie]

What it’s like to have a partner behind bars. [Vice]

I critique dick pics. [The Hairpin]

What Beyonce and Michelle Obama’s friendship tells us about feminism. [Daily Life]

Image via Bitch Flicks.

2013: A Bad Year for Women.

Not to discount Wendy Davis’ reproductive rights filibuster in Texas, abortion drug RU486 being added to the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme and feminism trending worldwide thanks to Beyone, Miley et al. clamoring to claim the movement for themselves, 2013 was a very bad year for women. But what year isn’t, really?

On Valentine’s Day in South Africa, Paralympian Oscar Pistorius shot his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp dead, claiming he thought she was an intruder. Abusive relationship whispers abounded, but all the media could talk about was that Steenkamp was a hot, blonde model, and many news stories didn’t even bother to mention her name.

While Melbourne woman (by way of Ireland) Jill Meagher was brutally raped and murdered in 2012, the trial of her killer, Adrian Bayley, dominated the Aussie news this year. It was revealed that Meagher was the latest in a long line of rapes and abductions spanning a twenty-year period due to the failure of the parole system. Bayley was sentenced in June to 35 years in prison.

Many of Bayley’s rapes were targeted at St. Kilda sex workers, which brings us to the murder of Tracy Connelly in her van on 21st July which made news in the wake of Bayley’s sentencing. Melbourne writer Wendy Squires furthered Connelly’s story by writing about the woman she never knew by name, but with whom she became friendly as she passed her in her neighbourhood most days.

In the mid-year political uprising in Egypt, up to 43 women were sexually assaulted in Tahrir Square, but they’re just collateral damage when the larger issue of political freedom is at stake, am I right? And while the brutal Dehli gang rape and bashing of an Indian student and her male friend which resulted in the student’s death from internal injuries happened late last year, 2013 has been rife with other sexual assaults. (It’s important to note that these are just the rapes that have been publicised and picked up by the Western media. Countless rapes have been and are continuing to be committed that we just don’t hear about.) Most recently, a 15-year-old Indian girl committed suicide after being gang raped six months ago.

The U.S. has seen a spate of woman-hating crimes come to light this year, too. In May, Amanda Berry, Michelle Knight, Gina DeJesus and Berry’s six-year-old daughter were rescued from a house in Cleveland, Ohio after being held captive by Ariel Castro for up to ten years. At trial in August, Castro was sentenced to life in prison plus and addition 1,000 years. One month later, Castro was found dead in his cell.

The football town of Steubenville, also in Ohio, made worldwide headlines for the rape and kidnapping of an unconscious teen by members of the town’s high school football team. The teenaged victim, whose identity is protected, was transported from party to party whilst she was unconscious (resulting in later-dropped kidnapping charges, in addition to rape and child pornography charges), had photos taken of her and shared on social media, and had her case picked up by vigilante hacking group, Anonymous, which forced the authorities to take the case seriously. The teenaged perpetrators, Ma’lik Richmond and Trent Mays, were given the minimum sentences of one and two years, respectively, in juvenile detention while investigations have been launched into the role school officials played in covering up the case.

In another -Ville—Maryville, Missouri—two teenaged girls were raped by boys on their school’s football team… Sound familiar? One of the victims was left passed out on her porch in minus temperatures, has attempted suicide and allegedly had her house burned down as a threat. The case was dropped due to “insufficient evidence” but has recently been reopened as a result of public pressure.

Back at home, the deaths of two young girls and the abuse they suffered their whole lives at the hands of their parents were in the news. Kiesha Weippeart’s mother, Kristi Abrahams, was sentenced to up to 22-and-a-half years in prison in July for the murder of her daughter in 2010. Her partner, Robert Smith, was sentenced to a minimum of 12 years for being an accessory to the crime. It’s no excuse for the brutal murder of a six-year-old, but this Good Weekend article is a harrowing account of the cycle of abuse in the Abrahams family that Kiesha was a victim of. Also making headlines was the sentencing for the murder of toddler Tanilla Warrick-Deaves. Donna Deaves had earlier in the year been sentenced to 12 years in prison for doing nothing to save her daughter from the fatal beating inflicted on Tanilla by her partner, Warren Ross. Ross was found guilty of Tanilla’s murder on 5th December.

But probably the two take away moments of misogyny in 2013 are Robin Thicke, who has been named sexist of the year, for his rape anthem, “Blurred Lines”, and its accompanying god awful video, and the ousting of Julia Gillard from the prime ministership. Now, before all the MRAs get up me for deigning to insinuate that a poor leader shouldn’t stay in that role because she’s a woman, I’m not talking about just her ousting. It was everything leading up to that: the “Ditch the Witch” and “Bob Brown’s Bitch” placards; the sexist menu in which Gillard’s body parts were likened to meat; Alan Jones’ comments; the questions about her partner’s sexuality; the misogyny speech… Hell, Anne Summers didn’t write a book about it for nothing! I don’t necessarily agree with all of her sentiments, and she did make some bad decisions in parliament, but when we look back at Gillard’s time as the first female Prime Minister of Australia, there has been at least one positive development to come out of it: Gillard is now a feminist hero!

What have been some of the worst moments for women in 2013 that I haven’t included here? I would love to get your thoughts in the comments.

Related: The Misogyny Factor by Anne Summers Review.

Anne Summers in Conversation with Julia Gillard.

Elsewhere: [The Age] An Innocent Woman Slain. Where’s the Public Outcry?

[Sydney Morning Herald] Duty of Care: What Happened to Kiesha?

[The Guardian] Robin Thicke Named Sexist of the Year.

On the (Rest of the) Net.

beyonce pretty hurts beauty queen

I’ve probably linked to this before, but in the week Beyonce secretly releases her musical (and video!) feminist manifesto, unpacking her views on women’s equality—and our views on her—seems particularly pertinent. [Bitch] 

But can we really take advice about sticking it to beauty ideals from a woman who chucked a tanty over unflattering SuperBowl photos and curates her Instagram feed to within an inch of its life? [Double X]

In defence of the single girl. [Double X]

On being a “bad feminist”. [The Virginia Quarterly Review]

How can we expect abortion ban exemptions for rape when so many rapes are deemed deserved in the first place? [The Atlantic]

Yet more musings about American Horror Story: Coven and its uncomfortable attitudes about race: is it all about white guilt? [In These Times]

 

I wanted to cut and paste the whole paragraph on Rihanna’s “Pour It Up”, sexual and creative agency and slut-shaming, but since it’s a lengthy portion of the article, head on over and check the whole thing out for yourself: “‘Slut-Shaming’ Has Been Tossed Around So Much It’s Lost All Meaning”. [Jezebel]

Image via RnB Music Blog.

The Week in Twitter.

Not since news of Wendy Davis’ reproductive rights filibuster broke the same day, Australian time, as Julia Gillard’s ousting as Prime Minister has Twitter seen such a flurry of feminist activity. This week, Peppa Pig emerged as our new leftist, Marxist, socialist, feminist hero. That is, until Beyonce dropped her latest album—replete with critiques on beauty, a sample of Nigerian feminist Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s recent TEDx talk and 17 ready made music videos to go with—at midnight last Thursday (Friday afternoon Australian time) with no fanfare and the interwebs lost its shit. Oh, and then there was the Village Voice interview with Jim DeRogatis by Jessica Hopper about the decades-old sexual assault and child porn charges against R. Kelly that went viral and is finally seeing the singer being—rightly—harshly judged in the court of Twitter opinion in the wake of his critically acclaimed new album, Black Panties (gag me).

While I haven’t heard or watched Beyonce yet (an iTunes gift card is on my Christmas wishlist), I’ve been devouring all the think pieces on her, her album and her feminism. Critiquing pop stars’ feminism is one of my favourite things to do, so it’ll be interesting to see whether the 14 tracks and their copious accompanying clips live up to the feminist hype.

On the R. Kelly front, I’ve never been much of a fan of his: I’ve got “Ignition (Remix)” on my iTunes and I enjoyed a boogie to it at my work Christmas party before the resurgence of interest in his pedophilic tendencies. But I have to say I’ve enjoyed scouring Twitter and the wider ’net for other opinions on separating the man from the music, the racial elements of the allegations and why we give artists a pass.

As far as Peppa Pig goes, her moment in the feminist sun was overshadowed by Beyonce. But some feminists are still holding on to their fondness for the children’s propagandist cartoon: Van Bandham has made Peppa her Twitter avatar and at Cherchez La Femme’s Christmas event, Feministmas, last night in St. Kilda, writer Jessica Alice performed a poetic ode to the pig in what I thought was the highlight of the night.

And so, as Christmas approaches, we wonder what pop cultural presents Twitter will gift us next…

Related: The Year of Beyonce.

Taylor Swift: The Perfect Victim.

Elsewhere: [MamaMia] Accused: Peppa Pig, a Tool for Dangerous Feminist Left-Wing Propaganda.

[YouTube] We Should All Be Feminists: Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie at TEDxEuston.

[Village Voice] Read the “Stomach-Churning” Sexual Assault Accusations Against R. Kelly in Full.

[Ebony] Beyonce Preaches on “Pretty Hurts”.

[xoJane] I Repeatedly Fought Back Tears While Jamming to Beyonce’s New Album Because Free Black Girls Are Not As Much of a Thing as We Should Be.

[The Gloss] Beyonce Isn’t a Feminist, According to White Feminists.

[Grantland] Rethinking R Kelly: A Fan’s Second Thoughts.

[Twitter] Van Badham.

[Twitter] Jessica Alice.

The Year of Beyoncé.

Beyonce-Album-Cover

Last week Peppa Pig had a moment in the sun as a viral feminist icon… That is, until Beyoncé secretly released her apparent feminist manifesto cum visual album and collectively blew Peppa out of the water and our minds.

But it wasn’t just last week that Beyoncé made headlines; 2013 has really been the year of Beyoncé. Let me count the ways…

In January, Beyoncé performed at the second inauguration of US President Barack Obama and caused controversy when it was revealed that she lip synced her performance.

gq-names-beyonce-the-sexiest-woman-of-the-21st-century_h

Also at the beginning of the year, GQ named the singer the sexiest woman of the century; never mind that we’re only 13 years into it. Inside the mag, ‘Yoncé talked about the unrealistic beauty ideals foisted on women by the patriarchy and lauded the importance of economic independence. Feminist debate ensued over her obviously feminist sentiments but her reluctance to call a spade a spade.

Come February it was time for the SuperBowl, and Mrs. Carter performed at the halftime show, which included the badly-kept secret reunion of Destiny’s Child. Yet more hullabaloo was stirred up as Beyoncé’s publicist requested that certain apparently unflattering photos be removed from the internet. Nice try, Bey.

This perfectionism that Beyoncé is so concerned with reared its head again in her HBO documentary, Life is But a Dream. While I found it quite inspiring to watch the process behind her art, you could see how heavily curated by Beyoncé the documentary was. Just like a live-action version of her Instagram feed…

Her Pepsi commercial came out in April and features some of her best known looks from her music videos—“Crazy in Love”, “Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It)” and “Bootylicious”—for a cool $50 million.

beyonce ms magazine cover

By mid-year Beyoncé was covering feminist title Ms. magazine, once again calling into question her feminist credentials. There’s not a copy of the cover story online, but head on over to Bitch magazine for a recent feature unpacking Beyoncé’s feminism.

Beyonce brunswick melbourne

Bey fever hit Australia, and in particular Melbourne, in October, as a photoshoot in Brunswick took over Twitter and the Tumblr Beyoncé in Brunswick went viral. I attended her concert at Rod Laver Arena and the $150 for nosebleed tickets was worth it.

That photoshoot would actually form the basis for the video for “No Angel” off her aforementioned self-titled, no-hype visual album. Never before has such a big star released an album—for which its 14 songs have 17 ready-made clips—with no promotion. As many a Tweeter has observed: take that, ARTPOP!

With the release of Beyoncé, Queen (or is it King?) Bey has certainly cemented her place as not only the biggest pop star in the world today, but someone akin to Michael Jackson, Madonna or The Beatles: an icon that has far surpassed her beginnings as an RnB singer in a girl group.

Related: Beyoncé Name Sexiest Woman of the Century.

Midsumma Festival & Women Say Something’s Should We Destroy the Joint?

Ms. Carter?

Elsewhere: [MamaMia] Accused: Peppa Pig, a Tool for Dangerous Feminist Left-Wing Propaganda.

[Bitch Magazine] All Hail the Queen.

Images via The Honesty Hour, TheVine, Ms.Herald Sun.

On the (Rest of the) Net.

Short and sweet this week.

Rape as a plot device. I’m reading Stephen King’s Under the Dome at the moment, in preparation to delve into the series which Clementine Ford cites in her article, and let me tell you, it is rife with unnecessary and gratuitous rape and violence against women. Even the characters’ inner monologues reek of misogyny. It should be interesting to see if the TV show is as heavily drenched in it as the print version. Judging by Ford’s article, it is. [Daily Life]

The racial politics of Beyonce’s hair. [Daily Beast]

Lady Gaga and cultural appropriation. [Jezebel]

Why do we care so much about other people’s sex lives, or lack thereof? [Jezebel]

Magazine Cover of the Week: Beyonce Flaunts Her Booty.

Beyonce-Flaunt-Magazine

It seems like everywhere you look lately, there’s Beyonce. Her Mrs. Carter tour is coming to Australia in October, if you scroll down you’ll see I linked to her “Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It)” video this morning, and now Queen Bey’s getting her glitter on for the relaunch of Flaunt magazine. Work it, girl!

Image via Fashion Bomb.

On the (Rest of the) Net.

“Single Ladies”, “Blurred Lines”, “Tunnel Vision”… The evolution of the threefold female body in modern pop videos. [TheVine]

Why are there no Asian rom-com leads? [Daily Life]

In case you missed it, my Paper Giants 2: Magazine Wars review is featured in the 62nd Down Under Feminists Carnival. [Hoyden About Town]

Sex and gender in horror movies. [Bitch]

My sister was always the O.C.-obsessed one, so the show was always on on Tuesday nights in our house, but I could never really get into it. (In fact, the only season I really liked was the final one, after the death of the bland Marissa Cooper.) But here are ten little-known facts about one of my generation’s most-loved shows. [TheVine]

The Canyons director Paul Schrader compares Lindsay Lohan to Marilyn Monroe. [Film Comment]

Magazine Cover of the Week: Ms. Carter?

beyonce ms magazine cover

I’m a recent subscriber to Ms. magazine, so I’ll be interested to check out the accompanying article on cover star Beyonce’s “Fierce Feminism” when it lands in my letterbox in the near future.

Considering her latest world tour is entitled “Mrs. Carter”, Beyonce is a questionable choice for the feminist bastion’s cover. While her personal life seems to be one built of respect, equality and solid choices, her public persona is somewhat at odds with this: she sings about men only being good for “putting a ring on it” and “paying bills” and poses with underboob on the cover of a men’s magazine while espousing the detriments of the patriarchy controlling what’s “sexy” and “feminine”.

Fellow feminist stalwart Bitch magazine has a worthwhile article tackling these contradictions and it’ll be interesting to see how Ms. justifies their cover choice.

Related: Why is Feminism Still a Dirty Word?

Beyonce Named Sexiest Woman of the Century.

Elsewhere: [Bitch] All Hail the Queen?

Image via Ms.