Image via SE Scoops.
Sex & Relationships.
Rachel Hills on sex then and now. [Time]
Three former sex workers tell their stories. [Cosmopolitan]
Sometimes human bodies are just human bodies; do we have to sexualise them all the time? [SBS]
Race & Racism.
People of colour can be racist, too. [Daily Life]
“Every 28 hours a black person is killed by police or vigilantes”: what Aboriginal deaths in custody have in common with America’s current protesting of the murders of unarmed black people by police. [Daily Life]
Please don’t act so surprised that Indigenous children are 5.2 times more likely to die than non-Indigenous children. [The Koori Woman]
A guide to therapy for Asian Australians. [No Award]
Punjabi migration to New Zealand. [Stargazer]
Reflections on #illridewithyou from the woman who started the hashtag. [Silence Without]
Australia’s racism problem in ten incidents from 2014. [The Koori Woman]
Racism in Australian media: some choice examples. [No Award]
Pop Culture & The Media.
Lena Dunham and the Slenderman attempted murder both make us confront our fears of women and girls not behaving in socially prescribed ways. [Bitch Flicks]
Further to that, we’re still as captivated by witches in popular culture as we were during the medieval and Salem witch inquisitions.
What does Miss Julie have in common with Gone Girl? [Flaming Moth]
On that note, Junkee published a guide on responsible social media use in the wake of Sydney’s hostage situation.
Why did The Guardian give a platform to an allegedly falsely accused rapist when alleged victims of rape are so rarely afforded the same? [Women’s Agenda]
“The Best Misandrist Films of 2014.” [Brocklesnitch]
Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol is in dire need of an update. [Hoyden About Town]
Ju’s Australian Women’s Writers Challenge wrap up. [The Conversationalist]
Girl-friendly video games. [On the Left]
Violence Against Women *trigger warning*.
“Why Rape Jokes Are Never Okay”. [Feminaust]
We don’t need to ask why Man Haron Monis perpetrated the Sydney siege. His miles-long rap sheet of sexual and physical violence towards women speaks volumes. [Women’s Agenda]
And in the wake of the siege, a dissection of the Change.org petition calling for stricter bail laws and the impact that might have. [Hoyden About Town]
This is what happens to women who fight back against street and sexual harassment. [Daily Life]
“We are a society that can land a rocket on a comet, splice fish genes into strawberries, and invent cars that reverse park all by themselves; we’re people that fight for marriage equality, dig deep during natural disasters and legislate overnight against ‘coward punch’ violence in the street. And yet our attitudes to the simple procedure of discontinuing a pregnancy remain shrouded in misconception.” [Daily Life]
Tony Abbott plays that “gender card” he so often accused Julia Gillard of. [Women’s Agenda]
Further to that, it’s “too little, too late”. [No Place for Sheep]
A Very Tony Abbott Christmas. [Brocklesnitch]
Just like the Labor government they said they’d be nothing like, the Coalition has had their fair share of surprises and excuses since taking office. [No Place for Sheep]
Prime Minister Tony Abbott misses the mark on why the repealing of the carbon tax is good for women. [Curl]
Why don’t our politicians have any personality? [No Place for Sheep]
Miscellaneous & General Feminism.
Depression around Christmastime (trigger warning: suicide). [Brocklesnitch]
On identity politics: “You’re Not Really X”. [The Rainbow Hub]
“Adventures in Free-Boobing.” [Jessica Hammod]
“How to Be a Good Parent to Your Bisexual, Lesbian or Gay Child.” [Opinions @ BlueBec]
The history of cyberfeminist group VNS Matrix. [Motherboard]
“To be alone is to be eccentric. To be alone and a girl is to be nuts.” [Spook Magazine]
Rachel Hills has just started a newsletter: sign up for updates on her blog, book and more! [Emails of an Inappropriate Woman]
On Old Fartism: “a position of social insecurity… Old Fartism can be found in people of any age or gender, but it is most prevalent among those who have lived in a world where their viewpoint and interests were reflected by default, to the exclusion of other subject categories.” [Junkee]
“It is indeed the opening of these doors that has rendered work-family balance problematic in the first place since it is the entry of women into the public domain, and specifically into paid employment, that problematises liberal-capitalist conceptions of the ideal worker, which presupposes a wife at home.” [Online Opinion]
Who are the top game-changing women medievalists? [Australian Medievalists]
Rosie Batty is Daily Life’s Woman of the Year.
The ugly girls club. [Daily Life]
The history of booty-eating (SFW). [Gawker]
The problem with our Jack the Ripper obsession. [New Republic]
Cosmopolitan and politics aren’t mutually exclusive. [Cosmopolitan]
Dating within your class on Tinder. [Buzzfeed]
And online dating within your race. [Daily Life]
An ode to celebrity workout videos. [Rookie]
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]
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]
“What is a Moderate Muslim, Anyway?” [Redefining the Narrative]
Navigating Islam and feminism in the 21st century. [Days Like Crazy Paving]
Evelyn Enduatta writes about “a 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]
Thinking about trans identities in primary school. [Sal Gold Said So]
Sex & Relationships.
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]
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.
“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.
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]
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]
More on protesting the World Congress of Families. [Gladly, The Cross-Eyed Bear]
The problem with limited-edition, girl-focused Lego. [Hoyden About Town]
The slave narrative of Orange is the New Black. [The Nation]
Still with Orange is the New Black, literature on the show. [Bitch Magazine]
SlutWalk Melbourne is next weekend, and last year’s speaker, Emily Maguire, talks about why she supports the movement. [SlutWalk Melbourne]
I reviewed Patricia Cornelius’ Savages for TheatrePress. Head on over and check it out, and then get to fortyfive downstairs quick smart!
50 not-so-obvious feminist pop cultural items. [Flavorwire]
Tony Abbott’s sexism is more than just a “gaffe”. [AusVotes2013]
Mark Ruffalo is pro-choice. [Stop Patriarchy]
What the Harriet Tubman “sex tape” means for black feminism. [Ms. Magazine]
Are politicians the new Ryan Gosling? [Daily Life]
And in the wake of last week’s “sex appeal”-gate, Cleo rates Canberra’s sexiest and unsexiest men. A step towards equality or should everyone just shut the eff up about it? [MamaMia]
Fuck “strong female characters”. [New Statesman]
“Misogyny” seems to be the word on everyone’s lips after newly ousted former PM Julia Gillard’s famous parliamentary lambasting of Tony Abbott last October. It was certainly on Anne Summers’ when she spoke at the University of Newcastle in August last year about the then-Prime Minister’s rights at work and how, “… if she were an ordinary worker, she would have a case for sex discrimination and sexual harassment.”
That quote appears on page five of Summers’ recently released The Misogyny Factor, born out of the above two speeches.
Gillard was quick to be criticised for intimating that Abbott is a misogynist; after all, how can you be a misogynist if you’re happily married and have three daughters? (That line of thinking was employed in a recent Facebook debate I had with a friend over Robin Thicke’s hit, “Blurred Lines”.) While the dictionary definition of misogyny is hatred of women, Summers explains the reasoning behind calling her book The Misogyny Factor:
“… [T]he misogyny factor is that set of attitudes and entrenched practices that are embedded in most of our major institutions (business, politics, the military, the media, the church, academia) that stand in the way of women being included, treated equally and accorded respect… I am not sidetracked by strict dictionary definitions of ‘misogyny’. Sure, it can mean, ‘hatred of women’ and we still see far too many instances of that. But it is more complicated and far more widespread than the prejudices of individuals, which is why I use the term ‘the misogyny factor’… I am talking about systemic beliefs and behaviour, which are predicated on the view that women do not have the fundamental right to be part of society beyond the home… Such views can be, and are, held by women as well as men… Why they defend misogyny is mystifying, yet plenty of women do.” [p. 7–8]
Essentially, “sexism goes hand in hand with misogyny. Sexism provides the rationale for misogyny.” [p. 8]
There is sexism and misogyny to be found almost everywhere you look, but The Misogyny Factor primarily focuses on the realms of politics and the economy. For example, we’re all (well, those who have a vested interest in the pay gap and who don’t buy into the misguided notion that we now have gender equality. If anything, we’ve regressed, and Summers addresses this specifically in the book, too.) familiar with the fact that a post-graduate degree-holding woman entering the workforce today will earn $2.49 million over her working lifetime, while her male counterpart earns $3.78 million [p 53–54]. For being a “young woman in Australia today,” “there is at least a million dollar penalty.” [p. 54]
And for those women who do manage to crack the glass ceiling and rise to the upper echelons of the corporate world, they mustn’t show an ounce of femininity lest they be deemed “too emotional” for the job:
“If women brought onto boards are expected to behave like men, what is the benefit of their presence? It is the worst of all possible worlds: the company is denied the different perspective women directors might bring to its governance…” (emphasis mine) [p. 89]
I’m glad Summers was sure to include “might”, as without it she might as well be buying into the very idea she’s trying to debunk: the belief that women are so inherently different from men that they can’t possibly execute jobs traditionally held by the opposite sex, or if they are granted employment in them, they’ll do a vastly different performance than the menz. They’ll “destroy the joint”, if you will.
Speaking of Destroy the Joint, the feminist social media movement, and now a book, born out of Alan Jones’s comments that female politicians and business leaders were “destroying the joint”, Summers explains:
“[Alan] Jones’s intended insult, that women were ‘destroying the joint’, was turned on its head. It wasn’t the first time that women had transformed what was intended to be a belittling comment into a triumphant battle cry. In 1905 the Daily Mail newspaper in Britain ridiculed the suffragists— those, mostly women, who were fighting to get the vote for women, by calling them ‘suffragettes’. The more radical of the suffragists embraced the term. They started using it with pride to describe themselves, and to differentiate themselves as radicals from those who used more moderate tactics. They created a publication, The Suffragette. More than a century later in another country, Australian women also took the disparagement and created the modern-day equivalent of a campaign newspaper, the Facebook page and the Twitter handle @JointDestroyer. Yes, that’s right, women responded. We are going to destroy the joint. We utterly reject a joint whose sexism and misogyny is so ingrained that far too many people see it as perfectly normal behaviour. We will no longer tolerate a joint that systematically excludes women from its ranks, that insults us as a matter of course when we stand up for ourselves, a joint that sees something wrong with spending money to stop violence against women. If that’s what the joint is, we don’t want it.” [p. 139]
The modern-day equivalent of the suffragettes? SlutWalkers and Joint Destroyers.
Some feminists have expressed concern that these movements are too radical and scare off more moderate feminists from the cause. When you look at the fact that “… In 2012… 21 per cent of people in Australia has been sexually harassed since the age of 15, a slight increase the previous report in 2008 (20%) and that a majority (68%) of those people were harassed in the workplace… [and] most of these were women.” [p. 97], it becomes pretty clear why we need such “radical” movements. Personally, I’ve been sexually harassed too many times to count, and a handful or two in the workplace. I need SlutWalk and Destroy the Joint.
Many of these grassroots campaigns occur online, to match the spate of online abuse women on the internet receive. I just received my first rape/death threat for views expressed (about To Kill a Mockingbird, no less!) on this blog: I can now officially call myself a feminist blogger. But when Kickstarter sees nary a problem with raising funds for a sexual assault manual, Twitter is used as a forum to berate women who don’t fit the mould, and Facebook bans breastfeeding photos but keeps rape memes and pages, misogyny is plain for all to see online. For example, former political cartoonist for The Australian, Larry Pickering, who most recently depicted Julia Gillard with a big black dildo, a strap on slung over her shoulder (“It seems that Pickering cannot envisage a Prime Minister without a penis—so he has to five Gillard a strap-on” [p. 125], Summers notes) and animations of the former PM topless, had the latter deleted by Facebook but the strap-on images were allowed to stay. Seems like Facebook has a women (or just female breast-) problem…
It’s not just online, as the sound bites from fellow politicians and menus from Liberal fundraisers will attest, that Gillard experiences sexual harassment. “It says something about our country and about us that we could subject our leader to such vile abuse” [p. 130], Summers writes. Look at the U.S.: while they arguably have more problems with misogyny than we do, at least the Office of the President is viewed with respect, regardless of the figurehead who occupies it.
Still with Gillard, “Can it really be the case that a tax—a carbon tax—could really spur so many people to such levels of hatred? I find that impossible to believe, so I have had to conclude that the persecution of Julia Gillard has to be about something else. Is it just the simple fact that she is a woman?” (p. 130-131)
In the fallout from Gillard’s ousting, and the subsequent gendered abuse I heard and saw thrown her way in the media and on Facebook and Twitter (which lead me to unfriend certain long-time-coming people), unfortunately I think Summers is right. The misogyny factor is alive and well in Australia.
Image via New South Books.
Happy New Year! To kick off the new year here are some of the links I found interesting over the Christmas break.
The progression of The Addams Family films. [The Soapboxing Geek]
The similarities between My Little Pony and Plato. [Overthinking It]
2012, politics and feminism. [Women’s Agenda]
Another year in review piece: pop music in 2012. [Gawker]
On that note, what will 2013 (hopefully) bring in pop culture? [TheVine]
Sweden’s gender-neutral toy trend. [Deadspin]
Could you live on $35 a day? The government expects single parents to. [TheVine]
Is Wearing Makeup a Choice? [Jezebel]