On the (Rest of the) Net.

victorian era breastfeeding

Victorians were more progressive about breastfeeding than we are! Although, it was linked to femininity, class and bonding with the child, stigmas that still exist around breastfeeding (or NOT breastfeeding) today. [Sociological Images]

Do ladymags publish serious journalism? Follow the #WomenAtLength hashtag on Twitter to find some examples of longer, “serious” pieces written by women. [Jezebel]

What Adrian Bayley’s crimes can teach us about prevention, rehabilitation and incarceration. [New Matilda]

Everyday Sexism has made a doco about shouting back at street and sexual harassment. The accompanying article by Clem Bastow is equally as hard hitting. Check them both out, because no one should be made to feel like they brought harassment on themselves, they’re overreacting, or dread at the prospect of leaving the house because they might experience it. [Daily Life]

The manic pixie dream girls of superhero movies. [Think Progress]

Someone actually wants my opinion on the week that was in sexism and misogyny particularly in politics, but across other spectrums as well. Kudos to Corey Hague on editing me to sound like I actually know what I’m talking about! [ABC Central Victoria]

Meanwhile, Mia Freedman thinks it was a good week for women: at least we’re talking about sexism and there have been consequences for it. [MamaMia]

Famous women writers before their suicides. What do you think: artistic or glorifying suicide and sexualising violence? I find some of them, like the Sylvia Plath and Virginia Woolf portraits, visually appealing because they’re inoffensive to the eye and create tension and anticipation, but I can’t stomach the Dorothy Parker nor Sanmao ones. Vice may be known for their provocativity (is that even a word?!), but I think this photoshoot is in the same vein as Terry Richardson and Dolce & Gabanna’s rapey aesthetics – which I quite like despite myself – where stopping the sexualisation of violence against women should trump artistic expression. [Jezebel, as the photoshoot on Vice's website has been removed]

It was Father’s Day in the U.S. over the weekend, and to celebrate, The Hairpin has collated fiction’s worst fathers. As someone with a deadbeat dad myself, I can empathise.

Fashion, feminism and femininity: mutually exclusive? Hell no! The other day when discussing feminism with a mansplaining misogynist who told me I only make him more confused about feminism because of the way I look, a friend interjected that I might just be the most feminine person she knows. And the most feminist, might I add?! [Daily Life]

Kim Kardashian may be a fame-whore, but she’s a person, too, and she deserves some semblance of basic decency. [TheVine]

Is the only reason we watch True Blood anymore for the sex? [The Daily Beast]

If we can’t have the real deal, Feminist Taylor Swift is the next best thing. [Twitter]

Image via Sociological Images.

On the (Rest of the) Net.

lindsay lohan mug shot xovain

xoVain recreates Lindsay Lohan’s mugshot looks.

Benjamin Law thinks all gay men should be feminists. Nay, all HUMANS should be feminists! [Daily Life]

When your mum has bad body image. This piece hits home because my mum is insecure about the way she looks and has transferred that onto my sister. [Daily Life]

The 12th Doctor Who should be a woman. [Slate]

Unfortunately, all my flights for my U.S. trip coming up at the end of the year are with Virgin, so hopefully their new “Get Lucky at 35,000 Feet” campaign doesn’t mean sexual harassment at 35,000 feet. [Make Me a Sammich]

Dissecting Law & Order: Special Victims Unit:

“The worse the stories get, the stronger [Olivia Benson] becomes; it’s the show’s unspoken dialectic…

“For all SVU’s excesses, we expect it to keep one promise: no matter how bad things get, the story will end.” [The New Yorker]

Daisy Buchanan: the ultimate Manic Pixie Dream Girl?

“Is she at fault for the fact that all of her swooning suitors idealise and project upon her?  Should we pity her, even a little, for not having had the courage or desire to break free of her social caste and love whomever she pleased?” [Women in the World]

Why does Johnny Depp have a bird on his head, speak in pidgin English and bear the Spanish name for dumb in the reboot of The Lone Ranger in 2013? [The Good Men Project]

Discussing street harassment. [Jezebel]

Why the most recent viral Dove ads are bull: lots of people envision themselves as attractive or more attractive than they are. [Jezebel]

Tyler the Creator’s misogyny and homophobia isn’t “just about the music”, and nor is it edgy. It’s disgusting. [Tiger Beatdown]

There’s been a lot of controversy surrounding this piece: it’s natural to lust after randoms passing you in the street, brewing your coffee, or hanging at the bar, but this guy wonders if his perving is more of a compulsion. [Slate]

What murdered teen Trayvon Martin and Justin Bieber have in common. [This Week in Blackness]

Image via xoVain.

On the (Rest of the) Net.

Sesame Street tells its viewers that “being a princess isn’t a career”. Indeed! [Jezebel]

Should Obama not have called his daughters “beautiful” during his acceptance speech? [The Oxonian Globalist]

“Can Smart Women Enjoy Hip Hop?” [Daily Life]

The Turnaway Study: assessing the mental health, wellbeing and overall quality of life of women who obtain abortions versus women who are turned away from terminations. Spoiler alert: those who wanted and recieved abortions are better off for it. [io9]

The perils of having female body hair in summer. To remove or not to remove, that is the question… [Feminaust]

Was it really necessary for Jezebel to publish the names and high schools of the racist teens who tweeted about Obama after his re-election? I’m a bit in two minds about this. Was it shoddy journalism? Perhaps. But I also think people with damaging ideologies should be called out on them, no matter their age. That’s how we create change and start a discourse about polarising issues. [Musings of an Inappropriate Woman]

Eating to stop men harassing you. [Jezebel]

To Live & Die in Brunswick: Reflections on Jill Meagher.

I’m not usually one to be so deeply affected by violent crimes resulting in the deaths of people I don’t even know, but there’s something different about Jill Meagher’s brutal abduction, rape and murder that has touched the hearts of many. Perhaps later this week or next I will attempt to unpack what Jill’s death and the litany of speculation surrounding it means to me, but first, I thought I’d ask a friend who lived in the suburb that Jill also lived and (presumably) died in for her experiences in Brunswick.

Laura Money is no stranger to guest posting on The Early Bird, just as she’s no stranger to the pitfalls of living in Brunswick, a suburb that both I and she, and I’m sure many other women, have experienced street harassment in. Maybe it’s not just Brunswick, as Laura asserts below. Maybe it’s just a Melbourne thing. Or maybe it’s what comes with the territory of being female in public.

*

Hi, I’m Laura and I’m from Brunswick. Sounds like a confession. In the wake of the rape and murder of Jill Meagher the idea of living in Brunswick has become hollow. I lived in Brunswick from 2009 to January this year after moving to Melbourne from Perth. It’s a similar story to Jill’s: her family are in Perth as well.

When I first moved to Brunswick I was so excited. My street had beautiful old cottages and Victorian-era terraces. Old people peered over their white picket fences to chat to one another. They gave me lemons and sometimes herbs. (Always legitimate!) It was a beautiful place to live. My boyfriend and I secured a one-bedroom unit you couldn’t have swung a cat in but we loved it. One of the reasons was its location: we were only two streets away from Sydney Road, where Jill disappeared. Pubs, bars, late night restaurants and enough kebab shops to ensure that your night out ended well and not regretfully.

Sydney Road was also a place where I felt pretty safe. I must have walked alone to get home so many times I’ve lost count. Until moving to Melbourne, though, I’d never really experienced much street harassment. Sure, I had a guy show up at my work every day to propose until I had to hide in the back room while my colleagues told him I didn’t work there anymore. I also had one guy decide he liked me that much he brought his whole family to my work to meet me, even though all I’d said to him was “hi”. My mistake, obviously, victim-blamers would decry. There was a creepy guy who requested I grow my leg hair for him and a couple of other incidents. But being harassed on the street was new to me, until Brunswick.

I’m not going to document everything but I will give you my top three not-feeling-so-safe-now moments. Firstly, I was reading on the train. I do this a lot. I was getting so involved in my book that I missed my stop. I do this frequently too! I got off at the next stop and decided to walk; hey I could use the exercise. It was about 6pm and the street was deserted so I decided to be a little cocky and keep reading while walking along the pathway near the train tracks. Hey, it was a really good book! I hadn’t been walking long when I noticed a small group of young men up ahead. As I got closer the cat calling started. I ignored it. They followed me. I ignored them. They postulated how they wanted to “shove that book up me if kept ignoring them”. I put down the book, placed it under my arm and told them to get lost. I then half walked, half ran to a tram stop and caught the tram the rest of the way. Walk home ruined.

Secondly, I was waiting for the tram. My stop was the first one, and the tram came empty from the depot so I always got a seat. As I was waiting, I was reading and standing next to the giant picnic bag I had. An old man came over and asked me for the time, presumably so he could look at the timetable, though I could have told him that it had been vandalised ages ago and you had to text for the next tram time. I told him the time and he asked where I was going. “I’m going to the city. I’m having a picnic with some friends,” I replied. “Oh, are your friends men? Are you married?” “No, just a few girlfriends. I’m not married.”

At this point I put my book back up and hoped the tram would hurry up. The tram came and I hoisted my picnic bag up, found a seat and continued reading. The old man walked up and down the tram before sitting down next to me. Seriously, he had the whole tram. I tried to keep reading.

“You must like that book, is it good?”

“Yes.”

“What’s it about?”

(Why did I answer?) “Oh, it’s just a detective series I’ve been reading.”

“So, are your friends single?”

“Sorry?”

“The girls you’re meeting, are they single?”

“Yes, it’s just a picnic in the park. Good weather, isn’t it?” I tried to change the subject.

“I’m single. Keep looking for a nice girl. I can’t go out with women my age, they’re all too boring. I need someone young, like you.”

At this point I start to panic and smile sympathetically for lack of another option.

“You don’t have to go and meet your friends. I’ve got a high-rise apartment in the city. If you come with me, I can give you a present.”

This on-sided conversation occurred throughout the entire tram ride, he even followed me when I moved seats and spoke like that in front of other passengers. A few of them laughed. I kept my eye out at the tram stop for him for weeks.

Thirdly, I was stalked home. I wrote a post a about it. It was pretty scary.

I know this sounds like Brunswick-bashing but hear me out. Despite all of these things happening, I just thought it was Melbourne. To a certain extent it is. These things happen anywhere. I’m back in Perth now and have already had a few incidents occur. My dad didn’t want me to move to Melbourne; he said it was too dangerous. In the first two months of me moving there there was a shooting, two bashings, a building collapse and a warehouse fire all within a kilometre radius from my dream-unit.  This didn’t stop me from living my life, though. I was often out late, heading home to my boyfriend. My mum reads and watches a lot of true crime. Because of this, I would call her or my brother in Perth late at night—time differences are great, aren’t they?— and say “I’m calling you while I ‘m walking home so that if I get attacked or something they will know my last whereabouts!” It was always a bit of a joke but I used to think that it was unlikely that they would attack someone on the phone because they’d get caught. When I saw the footage of Jill Meagher calling her brother in Perth shortly after talking to the man in the hoodie, I knew what she was doing.

To reiterate, my name is Laura and I used to live in Brunswick. I now live in Perth again and the harassment has slowed down. Actually it’s pretty much just at my new place of employment—gotta love that! For those who think, “if you felt threatened, why not just take a taxi?” Firstly, it’s only two blocks: so not worth it! Secondly, I used to get taxis after work f I was working late and the company paid. I got hit on in those taxis on most nights. Sure, I like a chat. I even chatted to a taxi driver so much that he remembered us later on when my friend left her phone in the cab. He was able to identify us because I’d been taking to him. By the same token, often when I got in the taxis from work, the male drivers would stare at my skirt. One driver focused the rear-view mirror onto my cleavage and one dropped the receipt onto my lap and groped around to find it. Fun stuff.

—Laura Money.

Related: On Stalking.

The Taboos of Sexual Harassment.

The Harassed & the Harassed-Nots.

I Ain’t No Hollaback Girl: Street Harassment in CLEO.

Elsewhere: [Daily Life] Brunswick, Alone & After Dark.

[unWinona] I Debated Whether Or Not to Share This Story.

Image via Daily Life.

On the (Rest of the) Net.

Disney’s least to most feminist princesses. [Nerve]

A hilarious guide to how to take the best bikini body photos. [Jezebel]

Is the reason not many women hunt because their menstruation stench wards off wild animals? [Scientific American]

A deluge of complaints have come in about Carefree’s latest panty liner ad, saying that the use of the words “discharge” and “vagina” are offensive. When I first watched the ad, brought to my attention from a friend via Facebook, I was shocked: you just don’t hear the word “vagina” in advertisements. But good on you, Carefree, for finally bringing to the mainstream’s attention that most women have vaginas, menstruate and experience discharge. [Jezebel]

On the other hand, do we really need a product to mop up discharge if it’s “normal”? Is this just another misogynistic feminine hygiene product we’re being sold to make our vaginas less “dirty”? [TheVine]

When it comes to the Mooncup, preparation is key. [Feminaust]

O.M.G. Who knew all the boundaries and defences we put up when we’re “… Walking While Female” aren’t enough when you’re ambushed from behind by a guy on a bike. Scary stuff. [Collective Action for Safe Spaces]

The psychology of the compliment.

Interestingly, I had to unpack the psychology—and misogyny—of a compliment paid to me last week.

A male co-worker whom I hadn’t seen in a while complimented me on my hair. I said thanks, but I was thinking of changing it (appointment booked for next week!). He said I should keep it how it is because a lot of men would like it that way. I, tongue-in-cheek, said I definitely wouldn’t change it then because my mission in life is to wear my hair how men like it. He exclaimed that he can never give me a compliment without me taking it the wrong way. I said I take compliments fine, just not from him because there’s always a backstory laced with misogyny.

Earlier that day he’d also been talking about which celebrities he finds hot, and that he used to think Katy Perry was the bomb til Russell Brand posted that unflattering, make-up free shot of her on Twitter. After this, it was the final straw. I asked him to please stop talking about the way people look as if it’s the only worth they have. He said I was overreacting (ahh, the catchcry of gaslighters everywhere), and at that point I started to raise my voice. Two of my supervisors came into the office to ask if everything was okay, and I told them that my colleague was being misogynistic, offensive and inappropriate. He claimed I was the one being inappropriate, and my supervisor told him that if I’ve said something offends me and asked for it to be stopped, he has to stop. “No means no,” effectively. He started to sulk and said he would just stop speaking to me altogether (this would not be the first time he’s ostracised himself from fellow co-workers), and my boss said that wouldn’t be necessary; that he could just speak to me about other things.

This kind of behaviour has been going on with this guy since I met him three years ago; colleagues who’ve been there longer than that claim it’s been since day one. He says inappropriate things about peoples’ appearance, whether it be related to their sexuality or perceived sexiness, their race, etc. He has also been known to touch women’s hair and he comments on how I apparently look like Anne Hathaway, Natalie Wood and/or Kat Dennings and how hot he finds them in comparison. I’ve also called him out on defending rapists and saying that lesbians are gross. Obviously, he’s an abhorrent human being, one that until last week I avoided telling that his attitude is disgusting and would he please stop it.

My supervisor later told me that he would respect me more for calling him out; I’m sad to say that his misogyny is too deeply ingrained for what I said to make a difference. No doubt he’ll tell our co-workers that I’m “hysterical”, “overreacting” and “can’t take a compliment”. [Jezebel]

How to tell a rape joke. Daniel Tosh: take note. [Jezebel, Cookies for Breakfast]

Bettina Arndt’s at it again, this time telling women not to overreact to workplace sexual harassment, which is essentially just flirting. [MamaMia]

*Eye roll* Yet another successful, trailblazing female who “isn’t a feminist”: new Yahoo! CEO, Marissa Mayer.[Jezebel]

Image source unknown.

TV: New Girl Hates Women.

Why is it that almost every second or third episode of New Girl takes a cheap shot at women, and particularly at what they wear.

Whilst Schmidt is healing from his penis injury, he’s asked CeCe to cover up her bangin’ body lest she turn him on. When she rocks up at Nick’s bar to meet the gang, Jess wonders why CeCe’s “dressed like a women’s studies major”. Yeah, ’cause only militant feminists wear baggy clothes and don’t shave their body hair. They might as well come out as raging lesbians and be done with it, right?

In next week’s final, (spoiler alert) Nick moves out of the loft and in with his “new-old girlfriend”, Caroline. In trying to deter a potential new housemate to move in, Jess asserts that “feminist rants” are “her thing”; more like anti-feminist rants. Following on from her comment last night, remember when Jess wore a ski jacket and mask around the apartment so that her male housemates wouldn’t think about her that way? Or when she asked if her pyjamas were too skimpy to be wearing around a house full of guys? That Jess laughs when she sees people naked and can’t even call sex organs by their names shows how out of touch with reality she is. And, by extension, how out of touch New Girl is.

Related: New Girl—Wearing Baggy Clothes Prevents Unwanted Sexual Attention.

New Girl Should Attend a SlutWalk Sometime…

Body Acceptance on New Girl.

Dermot Mulroney is New Girl‘s Knight in Shining Armour.

New Girl: Sexual Harassment is a Myth. You Just Need to Give People a Chance to Show You How Good They Are.

Manic Pixie Dream Girly Girls & Not-So-Girly Girls.

Who’s That Girl? It’s the New Girl.

Image via Putlocker.

TV: Girls—Sexual Harassment & Invasions of Privacy.

Call me crazy, but if my housemate’s significant other invaded my privacy by reading my diary (that is if I kept a diary, but I have experienced the encroaching of a housemate’s significant other on my relationship with him), I would throw down.

Hannah does no such thing on Girls, though, when Marnie’s boyfriend’s friend reads Hannah’s journal and uses it in their band’s song. She doesn’t even try to defend herself to Marnie, who is furious that Hannah would write such intimate things about her relationship. Um, am I missing something here? THOSE WERE HANNAH’S PERSONAL FEELINGS AND THOUGHTS THAT SHE DOCUMENTED IN HER OWN PRIVATE NOTEBOOK THAT WERE NOT MEANT TO BE READ BY OTHERS! (Okay, so maybe Hannah undercuts this argument when she says her notebook is not a “diary” but a “journal” that she someday hopes to publish, but work with me here, people!)

So what if she did publish them, anyway? Hannah’s entitled to her own opinions and she’s entitled to air them in any way she sees fit. (I’ve been in trouble with a friend whom I wrote about on this here blog. I didn’t name them, but they believed everyone would know it was about them because the characteristics I described were very specific, apparently. I was sorry that I upset them but I’m not sorry about what I wrote because it was how I felt.) I think Charlie, Marnie’s boyfriend, was just looking for an excuse to start a fight with Marnie as he was aware their relationship was stagnant. What Hannah wrote was exactly what Marnie expressed to her in the first episode, so I don’t think she has a right to be upset about it.

But  Marnie’s not exactly the most worldly woman. I feel like she’s managed to get by in life on her looks, and she thinks that because she “smells like a Bed, Bath & Beyond” that she doesn’t have to work at her relationship and that that should be enough. This is evident in her break-up sermon with Charlie:

“You watch porn? Why don’t you just, like, picture us?”

When she begs Charlie not to break-up with her, she offers to give him blowjobs if he stays with her. Call me crazy, but I would hazard a guess that healthy, equal sexual relationships would involve giving each other blowjobs on a regular basis. But that’s just me…

Speaking of sex, last week we saw Hannah being touched inappropriately by her boss. When she laments this to Jessa, she asks if Hannah’s flattered by it:

 “I’m not flattered by sexual harassment.”

“Why not? I love that stuff! ‘Sir, I have half a mind to call the authorities. How dare you!’”

Hmm, not exactly as progressive as Girls claims to be…

Related: Girls Just Want to Have Realistic Experiences.

The Harassed & the Harassed-Nots.

Image via Putlocker.

TV: New Girl—Wearing Baggy Clothes Prevents Unwanted Sexual Attention.

When Jess discovers all her male roommates have had sex dreams about her or used her likeness as a “self-completion” (read: masturbation) tool, she takes to wearing a ski jacket and balaclava around the apartment until she can feel comfortable again.

Firstly, just because someone has sexual fantasies or, especially, sex dreams about a friend, co-worker, roommate or acquaintance, doesn’t mean they want those fantasies to come true IRL.

And secondly, although this is not New Girl’s first offence, what someone wears doesn’t necessarily prevent them from being sexually harassed or assaulted. Jess’ ski jacket is one step away from having her wear a burqa on the show. Not cool.

Related: Dermot Mulroney is New Girl‘s Knight in Shining Armour.

Sexual Harassment is Just a Myth. You Just Need to Give People a Chance to Show You How Good They Are.

Manic Pixie Dream Girly Girls & Not-So-Girly Girls.

New Girl Should Attend a SlutWalk Sometime…

Body Acceptance on New Girl.

Who’s That Girl? It’s the New Girl.

TV: New Girl—Sexual Harassment is a Myth. You Just Need to Give People a Chance to Show You How Good They Are.

This is according to New Girl, the purveyor of upholding gender stereotypes.

When Jess invites the landlord to dinner as a thanks for fixing some things around the loft, Nick is certain he’s trying to hit on her because people are generally jerks. I tend to stick with Nick on this one, but Jess isn’t so sure.

Nick is 100% right when it turns out the landlord wants to have a threesome with Jess and Nick. While there’s nothing wrong with this if all parties are consenting, Jess agrees to go along with it in the hopes that it will all work out for the best (ie. no threesome occurs) and Nick refuses to back out until Jess does.

To me, this whole scenario not only reeks of perpetrator-sympathising* (Maybe he slipped and fell. Maybe he was going through a bad breakup. Maybe he was stressed at work.**), but that the way a woman acts determines how she will be treated by the opposite sex.

Granted, in my experience and the experiences of those close to me, the female is deemed “too friendly” and that’s why she was harassed, whereas here, Jess thinks being nicer to people will lead to less bad things happening (like Nick getting a gun pulled on him in the parking lot). I believe there was also a reference in there about the way Jess looks (ie. über-feminine) influencing how she’s treated by the opposite sex. Like I haven’t heard that one before…

*To be sure, Remy the landlord is not committing sexual assault or harassment here, but I think he serves as a good metaphor.

**This refers to strictly male-on-female harassment and assault, ignoring the fact that women can be perpetrators, too.

Related: Manic Pixie Dream Girly Girls & Not-So-Girly Girls.

New Girl Should Attend a SlutWalk Sometime…

Body Acceptance on the New Girl.

Who’s That Girl? It’s the New Girl.

The Harassed and the Harassed-Nots.

The Taboos of Sexual Harassment.

I Ain’t No Hollaback Girl: Street Harassment in CLEO.

Image via VidXDen.

On the (Rest of the) Net.

In response to the cavalier and glorifying New York Times profile on rapey photographer du jour, Terry Richardson, a model he allegedly sexually harassed, Jamie Peck, writes on the fashion industry turning a blind eye to her allegations because Richardson gives good images. [New York Times, Jezebel]

The multifaceted nature of identity. [Feminaust]

Jessica Simpson naked and pregnant on the cover of Elle is all well and good, but what does it say about non-white, -straight and -abled women who also happen to be pregnant?  [Womanist Musings]

A journey from vegetarianism to veganism to ecotarianism. This is something I’m struggling with myself at the moment, as I love the taste of (some) meat and don’t think I could ever be vegetarian or vegan, but I care about the way my animal products and byproducts are obtained. I went to a debate at the Wheeler Centre on Tuesday night on this topic, so I’ll have more to come on this for you next week. [Wheeler Centre]

You can be a feminist and still wear high heels and lipstick. [Gala Darling]

Germaine Greer and Julia Gillard’s arse. [MamaMia]

An open letter to Rihanna about Chris Brown. [Billboard]

In defence of the Spice Girls as feminists:

“We were wrong about the Spice Girls. We were wrong about whether they ‘killed feminism’ by not representing our favorite kind. We were wrong about their not having a message. We were wrong about their not being unique. We were scared that the Spice Girls would make feminism too mainstream and commercial. Well, good news: feminism is totally unpopular now, hurray!” [Rookie Mag]

Image via The Gloss.