On the (Rest of the) Net.

I’m writing about reconciling my feminism with a love of professional wrestling for TheVine.

While Beyonce may be the female version of a hustler, Clem Bastow writes that men can certainly be divas, too. It’s just that they’re never called that… [Daily Life]

In praise of The Mindy Project. [Medium]

Rapper Kitty Pryde unpacks the onstage sexual assault by a female fan of her male tour partner, rapper Danny Brown. [Vice]

Check out the latest online edition of ZINm magazine, by my friend Marc Bonnici, and contributions from yours truly and the woman who designed the artwork for this here blog, Zoe Meagher.

What the tabloids were speculating Angelina Jolie was doing while she was actually getting a double mastectomy. Sickening. [The Cut]

Not as gross as the trolls who are “mourning the loss of Angelina’s curves”, though. [Slate]

“An Open Letter to White Male Comedians.” [Jezebel]

Does Australia hate intellectuals? I tend to lean towards the affirmative. [Daily Life]

What the spate of cancellations means for the representation of gay people on television. [Slate]

Test the gender balance (or imbalance) of your retweets. And while you’re at it, follow me! [Twee-Q] 

Searching for an alternative name for “stay-at-home dad”. [The Atlantic] 

In response to the body- and slut-shaming surrounding Teen Mom Farrah Abraham’s porno, Jezebel reiterates that vaginal and anal sex don’t make you “loose” [SFW].

Mother to Daughter: Second- VS. Fourth-Wave Feminism.

While I’ve only begun calling myself a feminist in the past few years, I think I’ve always had feminist tendencies: I’ve always believed in reproductive rights, I’ve tried never to judge a woman based on her choices and it’s been instilled in me that, as a woman, I can do and be anything I want to.

A lot of this is thanks to my mum, who is a ’70s bra-burning hippie feminist through and through.

Though recently, as I increasingly immerse myself in current readings of feminism, I see just how far we’ve come, baby, and how the second-wave feminism of my mother’s era is worlds apart from today’s discourse on gender equality.

There have been many debates between second-, third- and fourth-wavers about who did, and is doing, more for the movement.

At a 2011 Melbourne Writers Festival presentation on why we still need feminism, Sophie Cunningham asserted that feminists under 25 can’t really grasp the concept because they’re still young and beautiful and have men falling at their feet. She also observed “a sort of ‘bottleneck’ in modern feminism”, where white, Western feminists aren’t able to incorporate intersectionality into the fold, which was a criticism of SlutWalk, one of latter-day feminism’s most high-profile conquests. Pardon me, but wasn’t it foremother Betty Friedan who was accused of being racist and homophobic with The Feminine Mystique?

Perhaps the most contentious issue is the constant bickering amongst young feminists as to what, exactly, feminism is. You’ve got women undertaking such obviously feminist tasks as Marissa Mayer overseeing Yahoo! and Beyonce nearing total world domination, yet they’re reluctant to call a spade a spade. And the non-feminist media would have you believe there’s infighting going on about who is allowed to be a feminist (definitely not Taylor Swift!).

But, I think, the feminist movement of today would like to believe it’s accessible to all kinds of women (and men): straight, gay, bi, male, female, trans, black, white, mixed-race, rich, poor, able-bodied and non-able-bodied, sex workers, etc. Can second-wave feminism of yesteryear say that?

This divide is illustrated by Germaine Greer’s infamous comments about Julia Gillard’s clothing choices and how they accentuated her apparently undesirable body shape last year on Q&A and feminists everywhere taking to their respective platforms to mostly disagree with her. One such vocal detractor was Mia Freedman, who said Greer “broke my heart a little bit” when she took herself “down in a hail of self-inflicted friendly fire while the world watche[d] in embarrassment.” When the two women appeared together on a recent episode of Q&A, Freedman was asked to clarify her response: did it mean she wasn’t a fan of the “ground-breaking, arse-kicking lightening rod for social change who ignited a feminist movement from which every woman in the western world has benefited” anymore? Was this an example of the abovementioned feminist in-fighting?

Freedman responded that while she has nothing but respect for the woman in whose water she grew up and who influenced her mother’s feminist awakening, “feminism needs to have a lot of different voices… It should be really, really broad and inclusive.” Essentially, feminism should accommodate both the foremothers and their daughters.

Freedman went on in that same episode of Q&A to—what some would describe as—shame sex workers, or “prostitutes” as she archaically called them, which ignited a backlash of her own. So much for that broad inclusion she waxed lyrical about…

While liberating housewives of Germaine and Freedman’s mother’s era from “the problem with no name” and ushering in the birth control pill are milestones women of today must be thankful for, they’re very much narrow-minded accomplishments: The Feminine Mystique appealed to white middle-class women and many women can’t afford the birth control pill, a predicament that still exists today. And second-wave feminism was very much responsible for the sexual liberation of a generation of people, but I’m not so sure that transfers to the hook up, raunch and porn culture/s of today (as Freedman’s comments about sex workers above would indicate).

For example, when I was living at home and Girls of the Playboy Mansion came on the TV, my mum would make me turn it off (keep in mind I was 22 by the time I moved out and this was not long before that). When I brought this up recently as an example of her generation’s reluctance to embrace sex positivity, she launched into a tirade that ended with her calling into question the women who pose for Playboy’s sexual promiscuity.

We must acknowledge that media like Playboy is an inherently patriarchal construct, but I think making the assumption that any woman who uses her sexuality as a commodity is a slave to said patriarchy is buying into the notion that feminism works against: women have no autonomy. Much like the debate over women in Islam (and don’t even get me started on the fight I had with my mum about asylum seekers that, similar to the Playboy exchange, ended with her defensively inquiring about the legality of people seeking asylum via boat), certain kinds of feminism need to broaden their scope to take into account the lives of all women, whether we agree with their choices or not.

This close-mindedness comes from a lack of access to new information and technologies and willingness to learn from and hand the reigns over to the feminists of today, I think. While many feminists of all ages count the works of Greer, Friedan and Naomi Wolf amongst their collection of feminist tomes, how many second-wavers can say the same about the musings of Jessica Valenti, Clementine Ford, Rachel Hills and the myriad feminist bloggers? That face of feminism has certainly changed to make it much more accessible. What once was narrowly accessible at rallies, underground meetings and in academic journals is now available wherever you look: Gillard speaking up against sexism in parliament, movements like SlutWalk and Destroy the Joint and all across the interwebs.

So on this Mother’s Day eve, it’s important to acknowledge the gender equality path paved for me by my feminist foremothers, including my actual mother, but also to recognise that we have, indeed, come a long way, baby. Maybe that’s something that second-wavers need to consider, too.

Related: Why Young Feminists Still Have “A Long, Long Way to Go” In the Eyes of Second-Wave Feminists.

Taylor Swift: The Perfect Victim.

Elsewhere: [The Atlantic] 4 Big Problems with The Feminine Mystique. 

[The Guardian] The Tragic Irony of Feminists Trashing Each Other.

[MamaMia] Germaine Greer: You’ve Lost Me.

[MamaMia] No, I Won’t Apologise for My Sex Worker Comments.

[Daily Life] Stoned for Having Short Hair.

On the (Rest of the) Net.

From the trailer, I never would have guessed Tyler Perry’s Temptation was a veritable hotbed of sex (and STIs), race and gender politics in the worst way. This article comes with a massive spoiler alert, but it made me want to see the movie so much more, if only to be completely horrified by it. [Jezebel]

Pro-cunnilingus lyrics in rap music. Fascinating! [The Pantograph Punch]

Beyonce finally admits she’s a feminist… she guesses. [Jezebel]

Fat-shaming on Australian TV. [TheVine]

Clementine Ford on “Reverse Damselling”, in which women seek to tame bad boys. [Daily Life] 

From one extreme to the other: a few weeks ago outrage erupted over a mother’s declaration that Victoria’s Secret was “a right of passage” for her young daughter. Now, the pendulum has swung in the other direction, and anti-child sexualisation activists have come out against VS’s Pink! line in what could be deemed as a bit of an overreaction. [Jezebel] 

Does Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson prove we’re living in a post-racial society, at least when it comes to his film roles? [Shadow & Act] 

The best way to get a shot of positive body image is to get yourself to the beach and take a look around at all the normal people. [MamaMia] 

The psychology of the original Carrie Bradshaw, Candace Bushnell, Sex & the City and The Carrie Diaries. [Daily Beast]

A substantive breakdown of exactly what feminism is and how it doesn’t mean man-hating. Well worth a read. [Jezebel] 

On the (Rest of the) Net.

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Beyonce: the face of feminism girl power. [National Union of Students' Women's Department Blog]

Emphasising the “victim” in “victim-blaming”. [Daily Life]

If people wrote about Seinfeld the way they write about Girls [College Humour]

Every day should be International Women’s Day. (FYI, it’s today.) [Daily Life]

Why do we hate Anne Hathaway? [Daily Beast]

Online dating as a feminist. [Role/Reboot]

Reconciling #FirstWorldProblems with Third World problems. [Daily Life]

“In defence of the personal essay.” Get ready, Early Birds, ’cause there’ll be a lot more personal essays coming your way about the crazy weekend I recently had… [Daily Life]

#DailyWife controversy, take two. [Daily Life]

The fakeness of female performers: feminist or faux? [The Cut]

The tyranny of the red carpet. [À L’Allure Garçonnière]

Image via The Fab Empire.

Magazine Cover of the Week: Beyonce’s a Gentlewoman.

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2013 is shaping up to be the year of Beyonce. We’re not even three months in and she’s already had a lip syncing scandal at the Presidential inauguration, performed in the SuperBowl halftime show, had a Destiny’s Child reunion, been named the sexiest woman of the century and, most recently, last weekend had a doco air on HBO. Phew!

I’m already starting to get a bit sick of her…

Related: Beyonce Named Sexiest Woman of the Century.

Image via That Grape Juice.

On the (Rest of the) Net.

beyonce superbowl

What was so great about Beyonce’s SuperBowl performance, anyway? In fact, the article could be titled, “What’s so good about Beyonce, period?” Don’t get me wrong, she’s an incredible performer with an amazing voice and I love pretty well all of her songs, but she does push a pretty conservative message (“Independent Women” really just want to “Cater 2 U” and “Put a Ring On It”) and is blandly uncontroversial. Her most scandalous moments are the rumoured fake baby bump and lip synching at the Inauguration. What do you think? Is Beyonce a positive black female role model, another pop star pandering to the patriarchy or do you just not care that much about her? [TheVine]

A 5-year-old girl was caught with her mouth on a 5-year-old boy’s penis: cue outrage. This article brilliantly highlights the importance of letting kids be kids, and that sometimes means “playing doctor”, playing “the sex game” and mucking around pretending to be “sexy” and “do sex” when they have no idea what those words mean.

“Kids aren’t gonna stop rubbing themselves, each other, and tetherball poles, so what’s the point of making it a scary, bad thing? Besides, this isn’t really about sex, so let’s not make it about sex. It’s learning about our bodies and the bodies of other kids, and doing things that feel good.

“You have to wonder how a big hubbub over truly normal shit can affect a kid in the long run. Will they eventually develop a sex-negative attitude? Will developing a happy, healthy sexuality be more difficult for them? As many of us know, childhood scars run deep.” [Jezebel]

Iron Man 3 is just the latest in a long line of films (Breakfast at Tiffany’s, The Last Airbender, The Lone Ranger, and Snow White & the Huntsman when it comes to able-bodied actors playing the seven dwarves) to use a white actor portraying a character of colour. [Kotaku]

In a similar vein, whitewashing non-white stories in Hollywood. [Daily Life]

The conundrum of being sexy but not sexual in the Japanese pop world. [Daily Life]

Reexamining Paris Hilton as a cultural icon. [Thought Catalog]

In praise of Liz Lemon. [Jezebel]

Image via Buzzfeed.

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

women say something midsumma should we destroy the joint

Prompted by Alan Jones’ admonition that women in parliament and positions of power are “destroying the joint”, which spurred the online feminist movement of the same name, feminist group Women Say Something brought their panel consisting of such high profile Aussie feminists as Tara Moss, Catherine Deveny and Gretel Killeen to the Thornbury Town Hall on Saturday night to ask whether we should, in fact, destroy the joint.

I must say I didn’t know much about Killeen’s feminist credentials prior to the event, but her total rejection of the Destroy the Joint movement, and most modern movements, was the surprise of the night. Killeen said she didn’t really believe in the premise of feminism and that she identifies more as an egalitarian. Tara Moss interjected here, saying that there’s not just one Feminism and that everyone has their own version of what feminism is. While I do support this notion to a certain extent, I think feminism is first and foremost about equality for all, not just for women. And I also take issue with different feminisms for the fact that this allows people like Tony Abbott and Sarah Palin, who are the furthest things from feminism out there, to claim themselves as part of “the club”.

This idea certainly didn’t go undiscussed, either, as Killeen raised the point that modern feminism is always looking for “aggressive marketing terms” like Destroy the Joint, SlutWalk and reclaiming the word cunt to recruit new members, like Abbott, no matter their ideologies and at the risk of offending the general public. Who cares about the general public? They’re always offending me with their sexist, racist and homophobic ways, so why not ruffle some feathers with feminism?

This lead Killeen to ask when feminism became a label that just anyone could apply to themselves. While I agree with this, and it’s the point I tried to make above, it is contradictory to what (my) feminism is about: equality. Moss then raised the argument of who’s more or less of a feminist, which is an issue I struggle with and which I’ve written about before. Someone then said that feminism allows room for discussion and disagreement, which the panellists certainly demonstrated; feminism isn’t a one size fits all movement.

It seems as though Killeen was playing devil’s advocate at first, with all her snubbing of most of the other panelist’s ideas. But as the night progressed, it became clear that she actually has some pretty radical views of human rights. As Catherine Deveny asserted, it’s not about feminism: it just comes down to being an “asshole and not [being an] asshole”. Here, here.

Some current pop cultural issues came up during question time, such as Beyonce’s recent underwear-clad GQ cover and accompanying article in which she espouses some feminist ideals, without actually saying the word itself. (Let’s remember in 2011 that she neither confirmed nor denied that she was a feminist, instead she suggested we create a new word for the movement.) Moss again reiterated the notion of many feminisms and that “if one of them happens to be in their underwear then that’s great,” which I wholeheartedly support (even if I don’t support feminism being thrust upon an undeserving pop star).

If Abbott’s declaration is anything to go by, seemingly every Tom, Dick and Harry are clamouring to get a piece of the feminist pie, what about all the damning of feminism as a “failed” movement? Deveny insisted that, as many a book, blog post, feminist or historian will tell you, feminism is the most successful human rights movement alongside the black civil rights one. Without feminism, we wouldn’t have the Pill, childcare, pay advances, or the vote, amongst a myriad of other rights.

So, should women destroy the joint? As one panellist said (who it was escapes me now), movements like Destroy the Joint and SlutWalk are “training ground[s] for activism”. Killeen suggested, again, that they’re just angry marketing ploys and that they don’t do anything to further our cause. Facilitator Kate Monroe and fellow panellist Casey Jenkins insisted that primarily social media movements are vital in “chipping away” at the patriarchal zeitgeist, and we need that as much as the “fireworks” of Julia Gillard’s misogyny speech, for example.

On anger, Gillard managed to harness hers at her treatment by pretty much the whole of Australia and turn it into one of Aussie feminism’s most important moments heard ’round the world, regardless of her personal or political beliefs. Many of the panellists (except, again, Killeen) agreed with an audience member’s assertion that anger is an important virtue when it comes to feminism. Far from the archetype of the angry, man-hating, hairy pitted feminist, anger can be fermented into passion which is essential for any feminist and feminist movement, wouldn’t you say?

What do you think? Should we be destroying the joint or do you think there are less radical ways to bring people around to feminism?

Related: Magazine Cover of the Week: Beyonce Named Sexiest Woman of the Century.

Why is Feminism Still a Dirty Word?

Image via Facebook.

On the (Rest of the) Net.

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Here’s what happens when Lindsay Lohan is cast alongside James Deen in Bret Easton Ellis and Paul Schrader’s The Canyons. [NYTimes]

Do you keep a “list”? You know the one… [Jezebel]

For the perils of Disney princesses; let’s examine the damaging notion of the Disney Prince. [allisms]

How about instead of responding to rape culture with the view that women should be more careful, what can men do to make our society safer from sexual violence? [Wronging Rights]

Gender disparity and front page news. [The King’s Tribune]

In defence of Girls’ “ugly sex”. [Daily Life]

Dissecting Beyonce’s interview with GQ in which she admonishes the gender pay gap and the fact that men determine what’s feminine and sexy, but is posing in a decidedly male-gazey, feminine and sexual way on its cover. Hmm… [Daily Life]

Are you sick of the lack of books published and reviewed by women? Then enter the Australian Women Writers Challenge in a bid to make a difference.

Why are South Korean women so obsessed with cosmetic surgery? [Jezebel]

Well here’s a convoluted catfight between Kelly Osbourne and Lady Gaga: Gaga’s Little Monsters have apparently been cyberbullying Kelly, which she mentioned in an interview, which prompted Gaga to write an open letter to Kelly. Then Sharon Osbourne got involved… [LittleMonsters, Facebook]

What it’s like to raise an atheist 7-year-old. [Jezebel]

Image via E! Online.

Magazine Cover of the Week: Beyonce Named Sexiest Woman of the Century.

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

Considering we’re only 12 years into it, that’s a pretty bold statement from GQ magazine.

While Beyonce is no doubt a sexy mama, there’s obvious contention for the title from “Kate Upton, Megan Fox, Mila Kunis and all your favourite Jessicas” (though props for choosing a black woman) and problems from a feminist viewpoint with the beauty and body myths the magazine continually perpetuates.

Related: Magazine Cover of the Week—Lana Del Rey Ditches Her Blue Jeans.

Disturbing Behaviour: Terry Richardson Does Glee.

Image via TheVine.

On the (Rest of the) Net.

Victoria’s Secret and Photoshop: first you see it, then you don’t. [Jezebel]

If you’re an anti-feminist woman maybe you should be evicted from the house that feminism built. [Dammit Janet]

The case against freedom of opinion. [The Conversation]

Why Beyonce is a phony. [TheVine]

“Top 10 Most Obvious Halloween Costumes”, with a special mention to option number two, which inevitably has an outing every year. But here’s an idea: how about combining Presidential politics and dogs in costumes to create Mitt Romney strapped into a cage on top of your canine? Already been done by the marvelous minds that enter the annual Tomkins Square Park Halloween dog parade, but nevermind: I’m still dressing my dog up as this! [TheVine,  HuffPo]

Why is the “colour” of Rihanna’s fragrance—called Nude—so white? [Sociological Images]

Surprise, surprise, Taylor Swift is not a feminist:

“I don’t really think about things as guys versus girls. I never have. I was raised by parents who brought me up to think if you work as hard as guys, you can go far in life.”

As the article points out, not only does she not know what feminism is, but her music is purely about guys versus girls and how poor little innocent Taylor had her heart broken by a big bad boy. You know, when she’s not slut-shaming and perpetuating a heteronormative Romeo-chases-Juliet-in-a-castle ideal of relationships. [Jezebel]

Clem Bastow unpacks Caitlin Moran’s Twitter gaff about the racial diversity of Girls. [Daily Life]

Who knew Eva Longoria is more than just a “boring pretty person with bouncy hair”? In fact, she’s chair of the committee to re-elect Barack Obama and retweeted a controversial statement related to voting for Mitt Romney. You go, girl! [Jezebel]

Image via Jezebel.