Tag Archives: Feminism


It’s International Women’s Day.

So, instead of reading yet another fucking article about Why I Am A Feminist or Is This Woman A Feminist – which is still just making women argue amongst ourselves, putting the Feminists on one side and the Not-Feminists on the other – you should read these two pieces:

All about able women at Blunt Shovels

I was told I needed to ask about accessibility in private, out of the public eye. Perhaps I am not part of the public? A disabled woman couldn’t possibly be made welcome by publicising how easy it would be for her to take part.


I don’t effing care if you call yourself a feminist or not, at No Place For Sheep:

I have a dream. In my dream every woman with a public voice just for once refuses these speaking and writing engagements and instead throws her weight behind a National Day of Mourning on March 8, for the women world-wide, and particularly in Australia because this is our homeland where we can best have influence, who are murdered and abused by intimate partners, as well as the children who witness and suffer.

Why aren’t we angry enough?

The 60th Down Under Feminists Carnival

Welcome everyone to the 60th Down Under Feminists Carnival!

International symbol for women, with the Southern Cross inside it.

The DUFC is a monthly round-up of some of the best online writing in Australian and New Zealand. It’s hosted by a different blogger each month, and April 2013 means we’re up to 60. Pretty sure that means you all have to give me diamonds.

So, make yourself a cup of tea and put on your reading pants, because TA DA!

Bodies – what we put on them, how we feel about them
How to lose the body judgement by Kath at Fat Heffalump:

“I was thinking a lot about the self hatred that so many women project on to others on these comment threads, either individually or fat women in general, and what really strikes me is that we’re never actually taught how to NOT judge people.”

Friday Frock: Compare and Contrast by meganwegan at Craft is the New Black.
Pics or it didn’t happen by Rachel Hills at Musings of an Inappropriate Woman.
Despite the gym we are fatter than ever by Mindy at Hoyden About Town.
Musings on 35 part 2: The personal “body shame” issue by Utopiana at Rantings of an Aboriginal Feminist.

Sex and relationships
The fcukless zip and Tony Abbott by Jennifer at No Place For Sheep.
Relationship phrases we should probably retire by Can Be Bitter.
Sexless frumps by Mindy at Hoyden About Town.
Who’s the man? by Rebecca Shaw at The King’s Tribune.

Media – stuff in it, stuff about it
Fairfax’s sense of gender balance by Wendy Bacon.
Real beauty? by Awesome Frances at Corpulent:

“This Dove ad tells us is that it is also not enough to be merely beautiful, you have to know it too.”

The Official Lady #QandA drinking game by Eliza Cussen at Fit it, Dear Henry.
Women writers, ‘brands’, and the politics of the personal by Sarah at Maintain the Beige.
Each woman must be assessed by me, here.

No girls allowed by Deborah at A Bee of a Certain Age.
ANZAC Day and religious rhetoric by Chally at Zero at the Bone.

Violence and harassment
Can we please stop comparing rape to mugging? by Can Be Bitter.
Sex Offence Sentencing: Are sentences for sex offences appropriate? by Holly at Confessions of a Stuffed Olive.
Being in public while female by Jo at A Life Unexamined.
Women as public property by Jessamy at You Are Doing That Wrong.
NSW Police and the vigilance warnings by me at The King’s Tribune.

In defence of mummy blogging by Cristy at Larvatus Prodeo.
Framing the judginess of Plunket by Deborah at A Bee of a Certain Age.

Politics and society
On the politics of criminalising the persecuted by Jennifer at No Place For Sheep.
I am not a widget: privatisation of social services by El Gibbs at bluntshovels.
The Greens hate fat people too by QoT at Ideologically Impure.
So it turns out political candidates are legally allowed to lie to you by Eliza Cussen at Junkee:

If voters want to make the informed decision required of them in a successful democracy, it is up to each of them to Google every claim made in every election ad, and fact check them before deciding their vote.

Piers Akerman – Dinosaur Extraordinaire by Chrys Stevenson at Gladly, the Cross-Eyed Bear.
The challenges of being a Muslim woman in a multicultural society by Ghena Krayem at Right Now.
Voluntary segregation by Anjum Rahman at Stargazer.
The Politics of Exclusion by Stella Young at Ramp Up.

Is the corpse of feminism revived and stirring? by Tatum Street at lipmag.
Elite feminism. Who is it good for? by Jennifer at No Place For Sheep.
The fantasy of women’s collective historical identity by Chally at Zero at the Bone.
Deadly Bloggers Challenge Week 15: Dear Concerned Feminists by Sarah Jane Innes at Sarah’s World of Procrastination.
Some women want to stay home with children and feminism needs to make peace with that by Andie at Blue Milk.

Great posts that didn’t neatly fit other categories
Vale Chrissy Amphlett by Kath at Fat Heffalump.
Attention, Whore! by Jessica Alice at Hersute.
The Tale of the Feminist and the Pop-Culture Convention by Jo at A Life Unexamined.
Songs I Listen To While Running #3: “Bad Reputation”, Joan Jett by Can Be Bitter.
And, of course, The Australian Cat Ladies.

A HUGE thank you to everyone who wrote the posts and sent me posts, and to Rebecca D and Chally for their help. Eddy at Maybe it means nothing is hosting the next carnival. Submissions to wilddamon [at] gmail [dot] com or the blogcarnival submissions page. If you’d like to host the DUFC, contact Chally at Zero at the Bone.

Update 6 May:
Oops, forgot to include a couple of links.

Retro arguments & division by Amy Gray at Pesky Feminist:

If articles continue to present feminists and stay at home women as different or in opposition, it presents the truly bizarre notion that women can only be one or the other, incapable of nuance or being a whole or complex person capable of multiple choices, talents and desires.

Why media gender equality matters by Violeta Politoff at New Matilda.

Each woman must be assessed

This thing that’s going on lately, where women in public roles are assessed one by one and declared Feminist or Not Feminist, is a bit shit.

Gina Rinehart, Julia Gillard (many articles in The Australian which I’m not linking to), Taylor Swift, Marissa Mayer, Beyonce. And now, Margaret Thatcher (in a piece that fails to explain why being a bad-ass Prime Minister makes her a feminist, but if you’re going to read it, make sure you read this Hadley Freeman one afterwards).

Don’t get me wrong, it is important for feminism to be a natural part of our public discussion. And it’s important that our public discussion includes rad fems and lib fems, because feminism isn’t a monolithic beast. There is still so much to fix and I think we benefit from having different voices focus on reproductive rights, violence, everyday sexism, women in management, equal pay, women’s voices in the media, parenting, and poverty. For one person to fight on every issue would be exhausting. Attack from all sides! But I just think that whether or not individual women identify as feminist is less important than talking about the other shit we have to fix. Besides, holding women up, one by one, for the public to assess them isn’t all that different to the “who wore it better” and “stars without make-up” sections in celebrity magazines.

The thing is, while we’re discussing whether or not Gina Rinehart is a feminist, who’s writing articles about how women account for only 13 per cent of managers in the mining industry, and what can be done to fix that?

While we’re talking about whether or not Julia Gillard is a feminist, who’s writing about the fact that the LNP and ALP support so few female candidates in winnable seats that in federal parliament, women make up 24.7 per cent of the House of Reps and 38.2 per cent of the Senate.

While we’re talking about whether Marissa Mayer is a feminist, or criticising Sheryl Sandberg because her book is for some women and not all women, there’s less space to talk about sexism and misogyny in the tech industry. Yes, these things are talked about on twitter and on blogs, but I mean in the mainstream media so it reaches a wider audience. There is precious little room there so we shouldn’t waste it by judging women who are at the top of male-dominated industries, rather than looking at those industries and why so few women make it to the top.

Over the last 18 months, feminism has become mainstream – largely thanks to the middle-class feminists who are now being mocked for their efforts because apparently, in the she-pee contest about who is doin’ it right and who is doin’ it wrong, being middle-class means your opinion doesn’t count. Are we really going to use income levels to judge who has a right to speak and who doesn’t?

We have a great opportunity here. Feminism isn’t going to be mainstream forever, but while it is, we need to get in there and fix shit.

(There’ll be a delay in pubishing comments this evening – I’ll be at the very first Tipsy Rabbit, a panel discussion with Sevana Ohandjanian, Caitlin Park, and Richard Cartwright talking about music and writing about music. Doors at 7pm for a 7.30pm start, Red Rattler, Marrickville.)

Can we talk about Gina Rinehart without insulting her?

You know when you notice something and then you can’t stop noticing it? Like, when people say “like”, like all the time? Or when you think, “I like her yellow shoes” and then you see loads of people wearing yellow shoes? There’s a piece on Daily Life about whether or not Gina Rinehart is a feminist role model that is filled with something that I can’t stop noticing.

For most of the article, Alecia Simmonds looks at whether there’s evidence of feminism in Rinehart’s business life. But it’s the little digs at Rinehart’s appearance that I noticed, and once I noticed them I couldn’t stop noticing them, and I reckon Simmonds didn’t even notice she was doing it.

For example:

And she exhibits a delightful refusal to conform to patriarchal standards of feminine beauty.

Um, what? If you do a google image search for photos of Rinehart, you’ll see that in almost all of them she is wearing make-up (usually lipstick, often eye shadow), her hair is coloured (I’m making that assumption because in some photos there’s grey hair and in others there isn’t), she’s wearing the classically feminine accessory of pearls, and she’s neatly dressed in feminine clothing. Now, I don’t have a list of patriarchal beauty standards, but if I did it would be any combination of: wearing make-up, colouring your hair so you look younger, wearing feminine outfits, being slim, being pretty, and spending money and time on maintaining the slim and the pretty and the outfits and the make-up. So, what exactly is Simmonds talking about here? Is it a comment about her weight? Because I’m not sure that Simmonds wants to be in the place where she says that women whose bodies are bigger than slim/curvy-yet-still-slim automatically stop conforming to/caring about beauty standards. Statements like that are best left for when we know, for sure, that a woman is refusing to conform to patriarchal standards of feminine beauty. And we usually know this by asking her if she is refusing to conform to patriarchal standards of feminine beauty and she says “yes”.

I definitely furrow my feminist brows when Rinehart is called an heiress while James Packer is called a billionaire. How is Packer any less an heir? When Julian Morrow quipped that Rinehart was ‘the elephant not in the room’, and Germaine Greer advised her to find a decent hairdresser I became a spit-flecked ball of feminist fury. Rinehart is held to a suffocatingly restrictive image standard that her counterparts like Clive Palmer and James Packer are not. We’re capable of discussing wealthy men without mentioning their hairy shoulders or wide girth. Gina Rinehart is reduced to her bingo-wings.

I agree with her point about Packer. I think Morrow’s comment was mean and childish. I think Greer, well, I find it hard to agree with anything she says these days. I think Palmer and Packer cop shit for their bodies, but without the nastiness that Rinehart gets. But in that final comment – “bingo wings” – Simmonds does exactly what she’s railing against: she makes a mean comment about Rinehart’s body. Look, I’m sure it was just a witty one-liner. But bingo wings is a derogatory term. It’s used to shame women – particularly older women – into covering their bodies. To stop them wearing comfortable clothing in hot weather, in case someone is forced to look at their arms for a moment. The horror of bingo wings is used to get women to diet and to exercise (this article suggests stretching your arms FIVE TIMES A DAY to avoid bingo wings. With all that arm-stretching we have to do, who has time to topple the patriarchy?). Why didn’t she just write “body” or “appearance”? It would make the same point about the “suffocatingly restrictive image standard” without buying in to the same language? This may seem like a trivial objection – this whole post is probably trivial – but I’m interested in the way that so many people just casually insult Gina Rinehart. Because honestly, what the hell do her arms have to do with whether or not she’s a feminist role model?

If you’re poor, then stop ‘drinking and smoking and socialising’, she barks.

Nasty people bark orders. It’s a small thing, sure, but the article is about whether or not Rinehart is a feminist role model, not whether or not she’s a nasty person. A better word would have been “lectured” (if you feel you have to use a word like this) or “said”. There is nothing wrong with said. It’s a very good word because readers don’t tend to notice it, so they focus on what is being said, rather than the fact that it’s being pondered/mused/uttered/barked. And it’s also a poor choice of word because dogs bark and dog is a word commonly used to insult women and you know I may be overthinking this.

Her philanthropic contributions to feminist organisations are negligible, she has campaigned to destroy decent working conditions and she refuses to see that opportunity is defined by social context. Let’s keep the obscene, unshared wealth of Gina Rinehart and feminism in opposite, warring camps, and focus more on the liberation part of women’s liberation.

Ah, Rinehart’s “obscene, unshared wealth”. I think we all have a philanthropic responsibility, because we’re rich people in a rich country. And I also think people can do whatever the hell they want with their own money. But when it comes to Rinehart, there’s an expectation – no, a demand – that she share her money (with who? With writers of opinion pieces?). Because women should care about others and help others and sharing her money with others is a nice thing to do and if she doesn’t share her money then she’s greedy and mean. And I’ll stop believing that this is what it’s about when I see an equal number of articles that casually mention that James Packer and Rupert Murdoch and Clive Palmer should share their “obscene” wealth.

The 55th Down Under Feminists Carnival

Hasn’t it been an amazing year for feminism? If you were a dickwad in public, chances are a whole bunch of women and men pointed it out for everyone to see. Sexism and misogyny were challenged, laughed at, mocked, and we have the t-shirts to prove it. Feminism is in. As Jane Caro wrote “If Tony Abbott needs to be seen as a feminist before he can have a shot at being our next Prime Minister then we’re winning”.

So, it’s my honour to wrap up a year of FUCK YEAH FEMINISM by hosting the 55th Down Under Feminists Carnival.

International symbol for women, with the Southern Cross inside it.

Thank you to everyone who wrote the posts, and to everyone who sent me posts they loved. Special thanks to Rebecca D and Chally for their help. By the way, Chally at Zero at the Bone is hosting the next carnival, and she needs hosts from March onwards. Let her know if you want to play.

Now, put on your fancy pants because it’s carnival time!

The future
My feminist wishlist by Jo at A Life Unexamined.

Women you should know about
Else Shepherd, leading Australian electrical engineer by Mary at Geek Feminism.
Sekai Holland by Orlando at Hoyden About Town.
Savita Halappanavar dead when an abortion could have saved her by tigtog at Hoyden About Town.
Royal Society of New Zealand 2012 Research Honours Dinner by scubanurse at Well Behaved Women Rarely Make History.

An unedited rant about looking into fatshion’s navel by Natalie Perkins at definatalie.
We’ve come a long way baby by Fat Heffalump.
Perfection is no panacea by Raidah Shah Idil at Lip Mag.
When activism gives way to advertising: How fat girl blogging ate itself by Natalie Perkins at xojane.
What geek girls wear (is none of your business) by Tansy Rayner Roberts.

Rape culture (trigger warning, take care here)
Comedy: the boys’ club asserts itself, Feminist Killjoys destroy the vibe by Helen at Hoyden About Town.
So. Rape jokes by Aleksia at I Totally Have A Blog.

This wonderful thing called writing
Synesthesia by Krissy Kneen at Furious Vaginas.
When Women Write about Women by MD Brady at the Australian Women Writers Challenge.
Our Beautiful Meritocracy by Tara Moss.
Classics and Feminism: thoughts on Virgil’s Dido by Jo at A Life Unexamined.
The Mr Darcy Effect. Or: You hate me? It must be true love by Holly at Confessions of a Stuffed Olive.

I am not alphabet soup by LudditeJourno at The Hand Mirror.
Bi-invisibility makes me mad by bluebec.
My Transsexual Summer, and what goes into diverse representations by Chally at Zero at the Bone.

The mainstream media
Thank you by kiwistargazer.
Ten Things I hate about Lady-Hating Comment-Baiting Articles by tallulahspankhead at The Lady Garden.
When a pretty face isn’t the story by Emma Koehn at Lip Mag.
Daily Telegraph: We decide which girlfriend is better by me, here.

Work (paid and parenting)
The stubborn gender gap – the market is not providing by Julie at The Hand Mirror.
Bananas in Pyjamas teaching you to like ‘bad boys’ and clean up all their mess by Blue Milk.
It’s not the women that are broken, it’s the system – a counterargument by You Are Doing That Wrong.
First anniversary of the first meeting by eutraphalia (I had no idea what a placenta looked like).

Ebswearspink responds to “Aborigine backlash for Tony Abbott” (known hereafter as the article)– also known as another pathetic excuse for “journalism” by the Australian by The Ramblings Of That Girl Called Ebs.
Of course we’re not racist, but… by Sally Baxter, Girl Reporter

Our bodies
Carry That Weight. No pun intended by tallulahspankhead at The Lady Garden (make sure you read the comments).
Is my body my own? by Kate Galloway at Curl.
Dear fat girl, by Bri at My Scarlett Heartt.
This is my body by bluebec.
Skinny by Helen at Tales from Urban Dilettantia.
Because I can by Craft Is The New Black (this post gave me goosebumps!)

Our right to control our bodies
Why abortion is a feminist issue by Rosie Cuppaidge at Wom*news.
The operation that made me a criminal by Anne Summers (she’s not a blogger, but it’s such a powerful piece of writing that I felt it should be included).

Violence and harassment (trigger warning, take care here)
Everyone needs the right help – survivors need services by LudditeJourno at The Hand Mirror.
Why White Ribbon Day matters by Tara Moss.
No Excuses – No Victim Blaming by Fat Heffalump.
Cardinal spin by No Place For Sheep.
Reclaim the Night; my experiences, thoughts and opinions
by Madeline Price at Wom*news.

Great posts that didn’t fit the other categories
The circle married the line by Emma Pocock.
The easy way to spot misogynists and feel good about your feminism by Ideologically Impure.
Why I hate the term ‘feminazi’ by Zoya Patel at Lip Mag.
When you are sexist by Amy S at How Not To Be A Jerk.
Lying to Lateline and other college pranks by Egs For Breakfast.
The canbebitter anniversary post, or, ‘Are we there yet?’ by Can Be Bitter, with my favourite line: “You know what, I am ‘entitled’.” Fuck yes to that!

In the future, even the robots will be feminists

On December 5, I’ll be hosting the 55th Down Under Feminists Carnival. 55 is a good number. It’s like two numbers spooning. Or a cropped top and buttocks. Or collarbones and boobs. Everyone loves boobs. (Which, frankly, would be a better tv show than Everybody Loves Raymond. As long as it wasn’t made by that “we’ve reached peak vagina” guy.)

Anyway, the DUFC brings together the best Aussie and Kiwi posts of the month. It’s a great way to discover new blogs, but also to see how freakin’ awesome the feminists on your internet are. You can submit your own posts, or someone else’s, via the carnival page, or email me at newswithnipples at gmail dot com. The current carnival is at 天高皇企鹅远.

I’m allowed to pick a theme that people might want to write about. So I did, because I do love a theme party: The Future.

On January 26 I wrote:

If you told me over Christmas lunch that 2012 would start with a two-and-a-half week discussion about the different feminisms, I’d have asked if you were on crack.

After a whole year of feminism in public – particularly the hugely successful Destroy the Joint campaign – it now seems quite sweet to be excited by two-and-a-half weeks, doesn’t it?

So, here’s what I’d like in the future. Or at least the next 12 months:

1. I’d like employers who discriminate against female employees financially and opportunitially – yep, that’s a new word, just made it up – to be named and shamed. Because making this shit illegal hasn’t stopped it.

2. I’d like journalists to interview – and photograph – fathers as well as mothers for their stories about children and childcare. I’ve only seen one childcare story in the Sydney Morning Herald that featured a father. One.

3. I’d like moderators on news and comment websites to realise that they don’t need to publish every comment, and the dumbass ones they do publish keep the intelligent commenters away.

What’s on your 2013 feminist wish list?

(I wanted to illustrate this post with a picture of a female robot doing awesome stuff, because robots are cool. Do you know how hard it is to find an image of a female robot who isn’t a heterosexual teenage boy’s wet dream? The only difference between “female robot” and “sexy female robot” in google images is the suggestion of anal sex. And the real actual girl robots only do “girl” things like singing and being charming, or walking on a catwalk. This is the only one I could find that wasn’t drawn like it wanted you to fuck it, big boy, or wasn’t pushing a shopping trolley. Can someone draw an awesome lady robot for me, pretty please?)

Let’s destroy the joint

Alan Jones must have been worried that Grahame Morris was going to get the top Ernie Award this year, because why else would he say – in response to Julia Gillard announcing aid to the Pacific to raise the status of women to help end domestic violence – that women in politics are “DESTROYING THE JOINT”? It’s purely about missing out on the Gold Ernie, and nothing to do with the two-year tanty that he and Tony Abbott have been having because they didn’t win the election. How embarrassing for them.

He’s got a point, though. These uppity women, you let them go to school and then they get involved in politics and then they don’t want to be hit and it’s POLITICAL CORRECTNESS GONE MAD and what’s a bloke to do? Sheesh.

Jones then repeated his suggestion that women in positions of power should be drowned: “There’s no chaff bag big enough for these people”. (By the way, he was made an Officer of the Order of Australia for his sports and charity work for children and young people. Does he know that Youth off the Streets and the Starlight Foundation help girl children as well as boy children? Has someone told him that girl children grow up to be These People?)

Thanks to Jane Caro, the hashtags #destroythejoint and #destroyingthejoint were all over twitter on the weekend. Instead of insulting the man who seems a little too comfortable with violence against women – in April he said that trying to stab your ex-girlfriend to death is just “Shakespearean“, plus, you know, saying that women should be drowned – everyone just took the piss out of his statement.

Check out these great posts:

Jill Tomlinson’s Destroy the Joint:

Some Tweeps expressed concern that the attention was feeding Alan Jones’ desire for publicity. I understand their concerns, but #destroythejoint was about laughing at Alan’s misogyny, showing solidarity through ridiculing the suggestion that women were out to #destroythejoint. It was an opportunity to respond for every woman who has received a put down comment that irrelevantly cites her gender.

Wendy Tuohy’s Witty Twitter women ‘destroy the joint’:

In the last 24 hours, women tweeters and their many male supporters have redeemed Twitter as a place where you can make a powerful political point without getting vicious or violently abusive.

It’s been such a deft but peaceful takedown, it’s enough to make you proud.

And Feminism and the power of social media at Crooked Fences:

Words that were meant to degrade and undermine women instead became a clarion call to action. The women of twitter became keyboard warriors of the best sort, using social media to mock (and dare I say it, destroy) one of the most arrogant and politically powerful voices of MSM.

If “destroying the joint” means laughing at one-trick-ponies like Alan Jones and ending the gender pay gap and ending gender discrimination in the workplace and in sport and ending violence against women, then I say FUCK YEAH GIVE ME LASERS!

lazer tits