80th Down Under Feminists Carnival.

Sex & Relationships.

Men find us more desirable when we’re incapacitated. [Reuters]

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]

“When is anthropology going to start taking Indigenous theories seriously instead of subjecting them to their own analyses and theorising about them?” [Fieldnotes & Footnotes]

A guide to therapy for Asian Australians. [No Award]

Is two upper-middle-class white guys agreeing about the fate of Indigenous Australians in the constitution really the best way to go about it? [New Matilda]

Punjabi migration to New Zealand. [Stargazer]

The cycle of poverty and homelessness continues for one West Australian Indigenous family of women and girls. [The Stringer]

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.

The Australian ran a photo of Christmas-ruiner and Greens senator Larissa Waters’ young daughter wearing pink because journalism. [Junkee]

“Dear Mark Latham, Mothers Are Not the Natural Enemy of Stay-At-Home Dads.” [Daily Life]

Sarah MacDonald called the Australian Financial Review to complain about Mark Latham’s column. They called her husband back. [Women’s Agenda]

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]

The responsible reporting of sexual assault and intimate partner violence. [Women’s Agenda]

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]

How many times do we have to read news reports on sexual assault that focus on the victim’s actions not the perpetrator? [The News With Nipples]

Ju’s Australian Women’s Writers Challenge wrap up. [The Conversationalist]

Girl-friendly video games. [On the Left]

Violence Against Women *trigger warning*.

Has 2014 been the year of the stalker?

“The Worst Time I Was Street Harassed.”

“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]

Reproductive Rights.

Abortion should be safe, legal and be performed as often or as rarely as the woman who finds herself with an unwanted pregnancy wants and needs it to:

“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]

We can’t forget informed consent when it comes to medical procedures. [On the Left]

Politics.

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]

Women lawyers have a fat chance of being considered for appointment to High Court judge. [Women’s Agenda]

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]

The way we report on politicians’ personal lives proves that “understanding and empathy aren’t dependent on one’s relationship status or parenthood”. [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]

How to be alone as a woman:

“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]

How personal feminism evolves. [Skud]

“Pregnant Refugees Left in Sun, Denied Food & Water, Removed with Force: Advocates.” [ABC]

I said goodbye to friend and colleague Stella Young.

More farewells to Stella, from Maeve Marsden and Brocklesnitch.

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]

Critiquing modern motherhood doesn’t equate to being anti-children:

“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]

On the (Rest of the) Net.

Some thoughts shouldn’t be catalogued, or, “The Trouble with Thought Catalog”:

“The editors have decided that pageviews are more important than protecting the lives of the people endangered by these hateful screeds.” [The Daily Dot]

And now writers are petitioning to have their work removed from the site. [The Daily Dot]

The men who help their feminist partners through online trolling. [WaPo]

What it’s like to be a teenage pedophile. [Medium]

A piece I wrote a few years ago about feminism in the Scream franchise and Orange is the New Black‘s Morello’s distortion of romance and reality I wrote a few weeks ago have been crossposted at Bitch Flicks.

Being poor on television. [NPR]

On the (Rest of the) Net.

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]

Bret Easton Ellis is “really sorry” about that Kathryn Bigelow tweet. [Daily Beast]

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]

Where are all the women in The Hobbit’s Middle-earth? [Jezebel]

Could you live on $35 a day? The government expects single parents to. [TheVine]

Is Wearing Makeup a Choice? [Jezebel]

Guest Post: Life Below the Poverty Line is a Horrible Place.

My Shopping List:

Penne pasta: $0.78

Jasmine rice: $1.29

Can of beans: $0.89

Can of spaghetti: $0.89

Oats: $0.99

Bag of carrots: $0.99

Can of tomato soup: $0.74

1 onion $0.41

Sultanas: $1.03

Milk: $1.09

5 small pears: $0.92

Total: $10.02

Day 1:

Breakfast: Bowl of oats in hot water and a pear.

Lunch: Canned spaghetti (this was an operations error. I meant to buy two cans of beans to mix with rice for protein but came home by mistake with spag.). Handful of sultanas.

Dinner: Rice with onion, carrots and beans. A carrot.

It’s not so bad. I thought this would be far more difficult, although I am surprised that I feel hungry already, because I am still eating three meals a day.

Day 2:

Breakfast: Bowl of oats with milk and sultanas.

Lunch: Remaining canned spaghetti and a pear.

Dinner: Pasta with tomato soup on it.

I have a headache, and I am hungry and grumpy and anxious. My body is simultaneously withdrawing from caffeine, sugar, nicotine, and quite possibly any other number of food- and wine-related chemical addictions. My body feels as though it’s put together all wrong and I am having difficulty focusing on anything for any length of time.  Woe begets any person who wakes, disturbs, annoys , or—let’s face it—even talks to me right now. My final 18,000-word thesis for a masters degree in International Development is due in two and a half weeks and I am supposed to be focussing and working hard, but all I can think about right now is coffee, coffee, coffee! It is strange, because this is not the first thesis I have written, nor the hardest academic challenge I have faced, but it is the first time I have faced any of it without coffee. This is my Everest!

Day 3:

Breakfast: Bowl of oats with milk and sultanas.

Lunch: Rice with carrot and onion pieces and beans and a pear.

Dinner: Pasta with tomato soup on it.

I ‘m going to be honest with you: I want to cheat.  I want to eat a tub of fried food, drink two gallons of coffee, and finish off with a 1kg slab of Cadbury’s finest. But I won’t, partly because so many people have paid money to see me suffer, but mostly because I want to have a better idea of what it feels like to live in extreme poverty.

If I were truly living off this two-dollar budget, then I would have no toothpaste, no shampoo, no soap, no (eek!) makeup. I would not be living in my lovely light-filled, fully furnished open-plan apartment 10 minutes from the beach, with polished floorboards and a security gate. I wouldn’t be typing on this computer. I wouldn’t be warm, and safe.

Take it from me, who has only lived here for three days: life below this line is a hungry, headachey, horrible place. And I sleep at night in a secure apartment, in a queen-sized bed, with thick blankets to fend of the cold, and electricity and plumbing and a fridge and any other number of comforts. The police are a phone call away if I feel scared or threatened, and so are my family and friends if I feel lonely. I live in the knowledge that if I get sick or injured, I will have a choice of doctors who will treat me. If I lose my job, I will have help from my government, a government who I have a hand in electing, and a chance of holding accountable if required, and a government who has real authority. Hunger is no real threat to me here; I am hungry now, only because I have chosen to be. I am so lucky. But the most important thing is, now I know it; it’s a small insight, but an important one.

Maybe the hunger is making me sentimental, but I think half of the challenge is to understand what it is like for those who suffer below the line; it is knowing the physical limitations of living there.  But the other part is understanding that the people we are trying to help are not fictitious, or lesser, or abstract, or really all that different from ourselves.  The people who live there are not faceless or nameless, though often they are depicted as so. They are young people, old people, women, children and men, who have dreams and ambitions, who have extreme determination to survive. The people who live there are wilful, funny, and intuitive; they have great capacity for innovation and great instincts for survival. They are all different kinds of things: hardworking, honest, reliable, efficient. They are human, and come in as many varieties as the people we know and love.  And I think one of the most important things about Living Below the Line (aside from raising money) is that we understand this, not remove ourselves from those who suffer by painting abstract images or pretending the problem doesn’t exist.  Because it becomes too easy to accept the status quo; to say, “there is nothing I can do; this is just the way it is.” Because it is not true! By changing the way we think, by looking at the way we live, we can make a difference.

Day 4:

Breakfast: Bowl of oats with milk and sultanas.

Lunch: Rice with carrot, onion pieces,  and beans, and a pear.

Dinner: Rice with carrot, onion pieces and beans.

I hate oats.

Day 5:

Breakfast: Bowl of oats with milk and sultanas.

Lunch: Rice with carrot and onion pieces, and a pear.

Dinner: Pasta with tomato soup and a carrot.

In just one week, we have raised enough money to build 7.8 remote classrooms in Papua New Guinea and also provided six full time scholarships to first time students in Cambodia. In just one week, we have made a real and tangible difference to the lives of others, by providing education to people who would certainly not get it otherwise.It is not too late to sponsor me, or someone else, if you have not already. If not now, it is certainly worth considering taking the challenge yourself. Please donate kindly; any amount can go a long way to helping in the fight against poverty. Or think of taking the challenge yourself next year!

On a final note, I also swear to never pay out Aldi supermarket again! For $10 I got more than I hoped for. My advice to anyone thinking of doing this next year is: don’t waste your time and money trying to get some variety. You won’t have variety, and the more things you get the worse quality they will be. If I did it again next year, I would forget the pasta, which tasted like glue, and the tomato soup, which tasted like salt and smelled like vinegar and made me want to gag. This money would have been better spent on eggs or more vegetables for nutrition, which would do more to feed the hunger. (It’s not that there is not enough to eat, the food is just not nutritious so you don’t feel good or satisfied after most meals.) I thought the onion was a cheap way to put flavour in the meals, but forgot that I wouldn’t have any oil to cook it in, so had to either boil, or grill it, which didn’t help much on the flavour front. I wouldn’t waste my time with that either next time.  The pears were a great find, the oats were bearable (they were cheap and powdery, but they were still oats) and the rice was, well, rice; you can’t really go wrong there!

Thank you to everyone who supported me! I hope I wasn’t too much of a pain to anyone who had to put up with me and my constant whinging Facebook status updates!

—Tessa Keane.

Related: Living Below the Line.

Guest Post: Living Below the Line.

For a week this May, I will be living on $2 a day to raise money and awareness for the Oaktree Foundation, in their increasingly successful Live Below the Line campaign. I’ve pledged to live on just $2 a day for five days, from May 16th to 20th.

At first it seems an impossibly small amount, but then you realise that actually a truly ridiculous number of people live on that amount every day.

$2 is the Australian equivalent of the international extreme poverty line—and through this challenge I’m hoping to raise awareness about the issue, but also money to make a difference. You might think that the $2 would go further and buy more in developing countries (that’s what I thought too)—but actually the $2 is worked out to be the Australian equivalent of what life is like for over a billion people. Extreme poverty means $2 per day buying Australian stuff, with Australian dollars. It’s pretty incredible to think about.

It’s definitely going to be hard (those of you who know me, know how much I like good food and wine). There’ll be no coffee, no sugar, no flavour, no alcohol, no snacks and not much nutrition. But if through this I can get a better insight into what life is like for those trapped in poverty—and raise money to make a difference for them—then it’s a sacrifice I’m willing to make. Particularly if you consider that the average Australian spends more per year on confectionary than people living in extreme poverty have to spend in their entire budget. I will spend my $2 a day on food, but if I were one of the people this campaign is raising funds and awareness for, my $2 a day would also have to cover shelter, education, and healthcare as well as food and other basic needs.

Those of you who are able, please donate generously:

  • $50 will provide a classroom in remote PNG with all the stationery they need for a year.
  • $100 will provide a scholarship for a poor student in Cambodia so they can attend school for the first time.
  • Any amount will make a big difference, so please sponsor me with whatever you can spare.  Even $2 each can add up quickly, so dig deep, or take the challenge yourself to raise funds!

Anyone who has any tips on how to survive of this amount, they will be most welcome, so please leave your comments bellow. I will be sure to keep you posted via The Scarlett Woman, with how the challenge is developing and would appreciate any insight that can be offered, because I am not a good cook—I can’t even cook rice!

—Tess Keane.