On the (Rest of the) Net.

Cory-Monteith

Where does Glee go next after the tragic death of Cory Monteith over the weekend? [Vulture]

Furthermore, Monteith as Finn Hudson embodied the fear of failure and being stuck in a small town with little to no prospects. Drawing on his real-life experiences, perhaps? [The Atlantic]

Got daddy issues? The ultimate TV father/lovers. [Daily Life]

I went to a Lady Gaga variety fundraising night and wrote about it for TheatrePress.

Is news bad for us? It is if it comes from The Daily Mail. [Daily Life]

Homosexuality in hip hop. [The Guardian]

An advertising agency liaising with the Prime Minister’s Office and hip, young media brands, such as TheVine, offered an interview with the PM in exchange for free pro-Labor advertising. [SMH]

Pacific Rim—the latest in a depressingly long line of films—fails the Bechdel test, hard. [Vulture]

The Pixar Theory: why Brave, Toy Story, Monsters Inc. et al are all linked together as part of the same story as opposed to different ones. The mind boggles. [Jon Negroni]

The underlying religious messages in Man of Steel. [EW Pop Watch]

Oh, goody! I’ve always wanted a system to chart how slutty I am. Gives a whole new meaning to the “slut barometre” Alyx Gorman discussed on TheVine a few weeks ago. [Slut Formula]

Why paedophiles Peter Truong and Mark Newton give same-sex parents a bad name. [ABC The Drum]

Image via Mirror.

Event: Melbourne Writers’ Festival—A Long Long Way to Go: Why We Still Need Feminism.

We’re in a post-feminist era. Feminism is dead. Has feminism failed?

From the arguments presented by Sophie Cunningham in her Melbourne Writers’ Festival address, titled after the line in Helen Reddy’s “I Am Woman” (and the title of a book I thought Cunningham mentioned she’d had/is having published, but upon further inspection, this doesn’t seem to be the case), these post-feminism assertions are null and void.

While Cunningham stated at the beginning, after her introduction by Monica Dux, that she’d be focusing purely on feminism as it relates to Western women, but to keep the big picture in mind, I was disappointed that she kept her key points to the lack of women (or recognition of women) in writing, music, film and the arts in general.

Having said that, though, she made some pertinent points: that in 2009 and 2011, the Miles Franklin Award shortlists were all male; that for a woman in Australia to be paid the same as a man in the same job, she would have to have a PhD to his Bachelor degree; that a 25-year-old woman will earn $1.5 million over the next 40 years, whereas a male will earn $2.4 million (to which Dr. Anne Summers responded, “There’s a $1 million penalty for being a woman in Australia today.”); it’s safer to be a soldier in one of the most dangerous countries in the world, the Democratic Republic of Congo, than to be a woman; women do two thirds of the world’s work for 10% of the pay; that when literary submissions are read blind, the inclusion/choosing of women increases sevenfold. (This is epitomised in The Big Issue’s latest fiction edition, in which six competition pieces were read without names attached, and five [possibly six; it isn’t clear if Nic Low, whose piece Slick appears in the anthology, is male or female] are from women writers.)

To really illustrate the “invisible woman” syndrome in the “writing culture crisis”, and amongst many other industries, Cunningham used an anecdote about a female reporter who attended a Liberal rally organised by Tony Abbott and was taunted by the crowd for daring to question Malcolm Turnbull (I think; don’t quote me on this)*. To escape the abuse that threatened to get physical, she disappeared into the crowd, becoming “invisible”. If only Lara Logan, whom Cunningham spoke about, was able to do this in Tahrir Square.

Cunningham brought up the notion that in terms of women’s equality and feminism, our society is regressing somewhat. This is a contention I agree with. Therefore the “invisibility” of women has become “normalised”.

Aimless Panther writes on Feminaust:

“Yay, Aussie women now make up 12% of board members! Wait… seriously, is 12% something to CELEBRATE?!?!”

My sentiments exactly.

In film, Cunningham talked about the Bechdel test and how the feminist movie of the year, Bridesmaids, makes the cut, whereas Cowboys & Aliens doesn’t. Not to toot my own horn (okay, I’ll toot away!), but has Cunningham been reading The Early Bird?!

She also mentions Pixar’s first film featuring a female protagonist, 2012’s Brave, about a strong, assertive and “brave” (duh!)—hence “ugly”—redhead. My, how far we’ve come!

Where Cunningham saw a sort of “bottleneck” in modern feminism, where white, privileged feminists like myself don’t understand the problems facing feminists of colour, feminists with sexual orientation other than straight, feminists with gender other than cis, and feminists with disabilities, she praised the “grassroots” feminism sprouting in the young feminist community, epitomised by SlutWalk. (SlutWalk has been criticised by non-white, non-middle-class feminists for excluding them. Cunningham defended the protest, but by only speaking about issues that affect the feminists SlutWalk caters to, perhaps she could be seen as contributing to this bottleneck?)

She longs for a fourth wave feminism, and finished the talk with this. Some would say we are in/entering a fourth wave, where sexual liberation and reproductive rights still reign supreme, but there is more of a focus on the needs of different types of feminists, as mentioned above, and “serious”, Third-World feminism, where some view the movement is most needed.

Those who are instigating these grassroots movements; this fourth wave; these feminist blogs; are arguably the 25-year-olds who “don’t get feminism”, as Cunningham asserted. While I don’t wish to demonise her for questioning my, and my peers’, motivations and understanding of the movement we so lovingly work towards, I was thoroughly offended by this comment. If Cunningham, and an elderly audience member who spoke up during question time by reiterating that young people don’t “get” what “real” feminism is all about, took a look around the function room at BMW Edge at Federation Square, they would have realised that the majority of people in attendance were under or around 25. Some of them were men, which signifies that yes, while we do still have “a long long way to go”, there are people on our side.

Furthermore, I remember last year there was a bit of tension in the ranks between second- and third-wave feminists, which has also contributed to the bottleneck Cunningham speaks of.

I think we, as feminists, need to be careful about who we call a “real feminist”. Is she the man-hating “HLL (Hairy Legged Lesbian)” stereotype? The woman who shuns all pain-killers to have a natural, home birth, and shames all those who don’t? The “expert”? The grassroots SlutWalk organisers? According to Cunningham, perhaps it’s not the young, beautiful women who “don’t understand” the real issues of concern for feminism because, well, they’re 25 and still have men drooling at their feet. (I’m paraphrasing here, but this is basically the gist of what I interpreted Cunningham to mean). There’ll be more on this to come throughout the week. In the meantime, what do you think?

*Updated 05/09/11: It was actually Alan Jones, at the Rally of No Confidence in Canberra, who lead the crowd in a verbal barraging of journalist Jacqueline Maley after she asked him if he had been paid to speak. I have added the link to this information below.

Related: [The Early Bird Catches the Worm] Has Feminism Failed?

[The Early Bird Catches the Worm] “Who the Bloody Hell Are We?”: The Sentimental Bloke at the Wheeler Centre.

[The Early Bird Catches the Worm] A Woman Can’t Even Get on FHM’s Hottest 100 Women List.

[The Early Bird Catches the Worm] Witch Trial: Burning at the Stake on Charmed.

[The Early Bird Catches the Worm] Bridesmaids Review.

[The Early Bird Catches the Worm] Cowboys VS. Aliens & Indians… Does it Really Matter? They’re All the Same Anyway, According to the New Movie.

[The Early Bird Catches the Worm] Rachel Berry as Feminist.

[The Early Bird Catches the Worm] Ain’t Nothin’ Gonna Break My Slutty Stride.

[The Early Bird Catches the Worm] Melbourne Writers’ Festival: Never, Ever, Again—Why Australian Abortion Law Needs Reform by Caroline de Costa Book Launch.

[The Early Bird Catches the Worm] Surfing the Third Wave: Second-Wave VS. Third-Wave Feminism on Gossip Girl.

Elsewhere: [ABC’s The Drum] A Prize of One’s Own: The Case for an Aussie Orange.

[Feminaust] Welcome to Monday August 29 2011.

[Sydney Morning Herald] The Fee, Me & Alan Jones: How Question of Money Turned Crowd Nasty.

Image via Melbourne Writers’ Festival.

On the (Rest of the) Net.

Embrace your inner slut:

“If someone calls you a slut, there’s nothing you can say to refute the claim because it never had any cognitive content anyway.

“If you try to argue that you’re not a slut, you’re implicitly buying into the idea that there are sluts out there. If there’s some criterion that will set you free, that standard will indict someone else—someone with a higher ‘number,’ or shorter skirt, or a later curfew. So we get bogged down in slut/non-slut border skirmishes over a line nobody should have tried to draw in the first place, and we all lose.

“Even virginity is not a defense against alleged sluttiness. Virgins can be sluts if they dress the wrong way, walk the wrong way, or even instill the wrong thoughts in other people. Some people will convict you of sluttitude because your body is the wrong shape, or the right shape.”

Sluts just can’t win. That’s why you should (as above) embrace your inner slut and join the SlutWalk next weekend in Melbourne, at the State Library from 1pm. I’ll be blogging more about this throughout next week.

Glee’s Mercedes just can’t get a date!

Video vixen VS. female bodybuilders:

“It is not ‘respectable’ to be black, female, voluptuous, and sexy on a stage for profit, but it is perfectly acceptable to be black, female, muscular, and ‘unsexy’. Is this double standard acceptable? Is one profession truly more sexualized than the other?”

I don’t entirely agree with this hypothesis. I think it’s far more acceptable to be conventionally and femininely sexy, as opposed to muscular and unconventionally masculine. Sure, the video vixen job title isn’t exactly perceived as a classy, “respectable” occupation, but neither is female bodybuilding. Society as a whole would much rather see women shaking what they were born with (or, you know, what the plastic surgeon gave them) than manipulating their bodies via hormones and free weights.

The surrogacy debate rages on at MamaMia

“$150,000 Doesn’t Make You Rich. Discuss.” Okay, I will: I come from a family where my mother stayed home with my sister and I, and my dad worked three jobs at some stages. I was very young then, so I have no idea how much money he brought in. But I can tell you, it sure as hell wasn’t $150,000, and we struggled to keep our heads above water week-to-week. We never had savings, we could never go on family holidays that required much travel because we couldn’t afford flights or accommodation. I missed out on all but one of my seven cousins’ weddings because we couldn’t make it interstate. My parents have only bought two houses in their lifetime: the other nine we resided in throughout my lifetime were rentals. I also don’t know how much my dad makes now, but it is a lot less than $100,000, and my mum’s on a pension. In my opinion, $150,000 a year is rich.

“Opposition leader Tony Abbott says the Government is punishing ‘aspiration and hard work’,” with the new middle class welfare breaks. Is working three jobs and hardly being able to see your family not hard work, Mr. Abbott?

How to deal with your boyfriend’s porn-watching habit.

The argument for Pixar movie heroines who aren’t princesses, “from all the girls with band-aids on their knees”.

The perils of being smiled at by a cute guy in a café when you’re not wearing makeup.

Texas’ “10 Hottest Female Sex Offenders”. “No doubt that 4-year-old boy, that 2-year-old boy and that 13-year-old girl are taking solace even as we speak that at least they were abused, molested and assaulted by a hot person.”

Hillary Clinton, brownies and Vanity Fair’s cover line.

The aftermath of the royal wedding and the state of Britain’s monarchy for the next 30 years.

Gay/straight chicken: when straight men insult homosexuality and “gay men insult women”.

“Is Kate Hudson Coasting on Cuteness?” My money is on “yes”. When was the last time she starred in a box-office smash, or was nominated for an award other than a Razzie?

Images via Jezebel, Fashion Fame.