Welcome to the May 5, 2010 edition of the down under feminists carnival. It is also the 24th edition which means the carnival has been going for TWO YEARS! Happy Birthday DUFC.
The optional theme for this edition of the carnival was “community”. Many of the posts in the carnival discuss gendered experience of public space, family life, and the workplace, the way women are perceived and treated in the community, and the different expectations placed on women’s behaviour.
Family and Women’s Work
Spilt Milk posted Dishing it out. on her blog Spilt Milk, questioning the representation of motherhood on Masterchef and people’s responses to a contestant’s decision to go on the show with very young children at home, and her decision to leave the competition.
Perhaps pursuing a ‘dream’ when you have young children to care for is self-serving — but if it is, where is the criticism of self-serving men who do this? Reality shows are full of them.
Blue Milk also wrote about differing expectations for mothers and fathers in Arguing with your partner, and other feminist work at blue milk. She discussed the difficulties of negotiating parenting work when both parents are working.
I am five years into this working mother thing, and I am still shocked about how unfair the work-family split is – all the work of getting it to happen, getting it to work, and keeping it running smoothly is done by mothers. It seems ridiculous – two people working, two people are parents – the organisational workload should be shared, but that isn’t how it happens.
Deborah posted Tell me something I didn’t know already at In a strange land, saying, “Getting good quality inexpensive child care is what makes the difference for women who want to be in paid employment” according to a report prepared by the Australian Treasury.
Well, that’s a no-brainer result. It seems perfectly consistent with my own experience, and with the reported experience of women in my family, and my friends.
On The Hand Mirror, stargazer asked who cares who had it harder? in response to a Herald article about women in the workplace.
the whole tone of the piece seems to have an undertone (or perhaps an overtone) of women today whining and complaining too much when they have things so good.
pissweak parent posted Oh 1963! When retro comes with a hefty side serve of sexism at Piss-weak Parenting in which she writes about the representation of gender roles in retro children’s books.
Case in point: Man do outdoor labour – Woman do indoor domestic duties. And it isn’t helped that I happen to enjoy cooking, gardening and am a stay at home mum. So even though Dad does lots of cooking, plenty of cleaning and looks of kids duty I still feel an extra burden to work at breaking down the stereotypes.
[Image Description: A two page spread of a retro children's book. The left hand page shows a man in a checked shirt and hat carrying two baskets of tomatoes, with a row of tomato plants behind him. The right hand page shows a woman in a dress and apron stacking produce on kitchen shelves]
[image source: Piss-weak Parenting]
Tammi Jonas at Tammi Tasting Terroir writes a post about the implications of gender, class, and sustainability for the local food movement in Feminists Don’t Have to Eat Fast Food.
It is obviously not just white middle-class privilege to have a thriving home garden, it’s for anyone who cares about their own, their families’ (if they have one) and the planet’s well being. It is also not just drudgery, and a new way to chain women to the kitchen sink. Our culture’s sense of entitlement to a life of convenience and uber-consumerism is neither making us happy nor providing our children with a future.
Queen of Thorns wrote an explanation of why women’s rooms are not sexist with A room of one’s own at Ideologically Impure.
It’s a room. Usually (from my experience of two major NZ universities) it is a pokey little room completely off the main thoroughfare with minimal signage.
Pay disparity? Actually affects women’s lives. Lack of childcare facilities, getting fired when you get pregnant, expectation of having to work fulltime AND be Supermum, massively disproportionate rates of sexual violence and family abuse? Actually affects women’s lives.
Gentlemen at Penguin unearthed questioned the practice of group emails being addressed to “Gentlemen” in the workplace.
any email addressed to “Gentlemen” (whether I’m in the to or the cc list) says to me that the author’s default (and probably entirely unconscious) assumption is that his (invariably his) work colleagues are male.
Deborah featured a discussion with Marilyn Waring on her post Marilyn Waring is awesome posted at In a strange land, providing some links to videos of a panel discussion with Marilyn Waring. In particular, see the wonderful comment from Carol.
With on “Throwing Like a Girl” at Pondering Postfeminism DoctorPen looks at Iris Marion Young and her ideas about how women are socialised to experience their bodies.
Iris Marion Young argues that by looking at the different ways men and women embody their bodies – the way they live in them, move them, sit in them, understand them, how they take up space, etc. – we can get some insights into the way gendered differences play out in our society, to the detriment of women.
[Image Description: A retro poster shows a male soldier about to throw a grenade. The poster is headed above with "Oh, Lord, why do I throw like a girl?" and below with "Parents - Please! Let your son play Little League!"]
[image source: AlphaPsy blog via Pondering Postfeminism]
Zero At the Bone‘s A Small Story echoes some of these ideas with a story of negotiating public space.
I wonder why I moved and let those men take up that space where I could have told them what’s what. Or, better, they could have moved aside, not treated me like a piece of furniture, been conscious of the space they take up like women are supposed to do.
Spilt Milk responds to a discussion about weighing children at with her post Scales of Injustice:
Concerned parents, teachers, public health authorities and popular culture commentators with successful blogs take note: We must not make the mistake of letting some children think that they are worth less — worthless — because they weigh more. Numbers on a scale are not nuanced, they are not intelligent, they are not loving, they do not listen.
You can’t bully me out of my skinny jeans at definatalie.com is Natalie’s response to having her photo reposted without permission in a hateful and fatphobic Facebook group.
Firstly, you know how I feel about body shame that is dressed up as fashion advice. It’s bogus. No one should be harassed, mocked or attacked for wearing clothes (or NOT wearing clothes). There is absolutely no weight limit on leggings or skinny jeans. There is, however, an abundance of people who are falling into a trap of being way too invested in what other people do, and wear.
Related to the previous link under the body section, Spilt Milk links fashion policing with body hatred, fat phobia and slut shaming in the media with If you’re part of the problem you’re not part of the solution.
Daile Pepper of the WA Today calls jeggings “a crime against jeans. And leggings. And women.” Which is funny really, because whilst jeggings might be silly and they might even be seriously ugly, they’re no crime against women. They’re a clothing item. What is a crime against women? Writing a few hundred words of vitriol against women’s bodies and calling it a fashion piece.
Helen takes down Paul Sheehan’s mansplanations with Douchebag attends feminist conference, with predictable result at Blogger on the Cast Iron Balcony.
One of the ways in which Sheehan could help all women would be to support feminism instead of pulling it down. And that doesn’t just go for Sheehan, who after all is a sad clown of the rightwing shock journo pantheon, but the editors who are continually running this sort of thing, because it gets a reaction.
Race & Racism
a shiny new coin wrote a critique of racist jokes and the use of humour as a defence for racism with racism, humour and the perception filter.
People who want to babble their privilege unthinkingly into the world have an arsenal of defences at their disposal. Humour is one of them. It constructs racism as something that other people engage in, not us, hence we can be as offensive as we feel like. By using humour alongside racism we’re othering both racists and the people of colour they are racist towards. We’re setting ourselves apart, in a lofty neutral terrain.
Lissy posted I really dislike Transphobia at Thinking about my kink….
Now… it is with much distaste that I approach the following topic… the one that most boils my gizzards… the “Transgender women retain male privilege and transgender men are all sell outs to patriarchal privilege” meme.
Politics & Activism
A dangerous piece of fabric posted at the news with nipples discusses the contradictions of banning the niqab in France.
I am fundamentally opposed to the idea that because women are forced to wear the niqab, then the right thing to do is force them not to wear it. How the fuck is that not also oppression?
This month, suggestions by an Iranian cleric that womens’ immodest behaviour causes earthquakes led to facebook demonstrations such as “boobquake”, “brainquake”, and “femquake”.
On this subject, Spilt Milk posted Did the Earth Move For You?:
Clearly, Hojatoleslam Kazem Sedighi’s comments were offensive and also stupid. And the response – a day dedicated to showing off cleavage to prove that a whole lotta boobs won’t cause a natural disaster – was at best a fun way to show a little solidarity and at worst, a little bit misguided.
Lissy posted Making the earth move in your own way at Thinking about my kink…
One of my biggest frustrations with factionalism feminism is that it divides feminists and in doing so strengthens patriarchy… so while boobquake wasn’t my kind of thing personally and I was put off brainquake… femquake is/ was a feminist action I can support….
Sex and Relationships
Rachel Hills posted two articles about contemporary popular culture and the concept of raunch culture, with Lady Gaga: Gen Y sex icon? at Musings of an inappropriate woman, saying,
Gaga’s world is one in which “anything goes” – but that means literally anything goes. You can be gay, straight, trans, cis, sexually active, virginal, temporarily celibate… Gaga doesn’t care, so long as it makes you happy. She accepts and embraces you, and she wants you to accept and embrace yourself.
as well as Raunch culture: it’s not 2005 anymore:
In 2010, public discourse around young women and sexuality is in a very different place. The loudest message women are getting now is that they are too sexual – offensively so.
(TRIGGER WARNINGS on all of this section, and the posts linked to here)
a shiny new coin posted trigger warning about triggering headlines and the media’s responsibility in how it reports rape cases.
In a way, reporting rape in full, reporting any violent crime in fact, is as disrespectful of victims, survivors and potential victims as ignoring it altogether. On another note, is throwing out a horrific example a further way to erode the distinction between lack of consent and enthusiastic consent?
Fuck Politeness responded to the story of a rape case in which the jury questioned whether the rape of a woman wearing skinny jeans was possible with a giant What. The. HELL?.
Do I sound angry? Sorry. I am FURIOUS actually, I hope I didn’t mislead you. What a woman wears has jack shit to do with whether she was raped, and a pair of skinny jeans can be removed by another person much more easily than they can be removed by the wearer. This sudden resurgence of a variation on the ‘look what she was wearing’ argument is simply astonishing and frankly has no place in a court of law whatsoever.
Spilt Milk links rape culture with abuses in obstetric practice with her post When fighting rape culture means changing birth culture.
The problem is that in a culture that allows the bodily autonomy of women to be eroded, denied, violently erased in any setting, bodily autonomy only exists as a value that is demonstrably vulnerable to attack.
Rebecca presents This is why we need relationship training posted at bluebec.com, which was an article she wrote after the findings of VicHealth into societal attitudes regarding violence against women about the need for a redesign of sex education to include relationships.
I’ve been a long believer in the fact that sex education in Australia is completely inadequate to prepare people for not just sex but also relationships with the people they’re having sex with.
Lauredhel posted On what we talk about when we talk about “domestic violence” at Hoyden About Town which highlights the exclusion of children in many discussions about domestic violence.
Why do we, as feminists (collectively), and as anti-violence activists in general, typically ignore the largest group of victims when we talk about domestic violence?
Sex offender dad gets access to daughters: Why? at Melinda Tankard Reist highlights a Tasmanian case in which a father who had been convicted of possessing child pornography was given visitation rights to his daughters.
[D]espite fully understanding and acknowledging the sexual threat the father posed, Justice Benjamin ignored the pleas of the girls’ mother and awarded a sex offender fortnightly access to his daughters. How did Justice Benjamin arrive at this decision? The reason he was able to believe the girls, while still deciding to grant a sex offender access to them, seems to rest in an implicit belief in a biologically determinist ‘hydraulic model’ of male sexuality.
That concludes this edition. I hope you enjoyed reading the posts that were linked to here. Submit your blog article to the next edition of down under feminists carnival using our carnival submission form. The next edition will be hosted by Rachel Hills. Past posts and future hosts can be found on our blog carnival index page.
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