kia ora everyone, and welcome to the carnival. as always, there's a whole heap of wonderful writing to be shared. so i won't waste your time any further, let's get right into it.
from elisha, we have a brilliant post about women's issues related to weight. she talks about how positive she felt about her body when she was pregnant:
The fact that clinched my body confidence was that I found myself beautiful anyways. The compliments were simply fans to an already existing flame. I could feel life inside of me, effusing from my pores, coursing through my veins, and willy nilly in my gut.
and the issues that arose post baby, including dieting and the MILF myth:
An attractive mother could not just be an attractive woman. Because she was a mother, her assumed status was unF-able, which is why the mother who is F-able deserves her own acronymic nickname.
the queen of thorns deconstructs a fat-hating op-ed in a new zealand paper. dr alice boyes talks about the effect of weight on relationships, concluding that weight stigma has a negative impact for heavier women. and ele at homepaddock talks about the problem of pregorexia.
on the related issue of appearance, witty knitter highlights another case of a woman being put under unfair scrutiny. hell on hairy legs shows the narrow beauty norms involved in the use of women's bodies to sell noble causes.
FP talks about the focus on appearance for women in sports, in particular the comparison between serena williams and kirilenko:
I’m not suggesting she ought to have more, that she needs to stun me with her beauty in order to play tennis. But when those people who DO assert that sort of nonsense, also try to assert that “beauty” is an objective thing, I do take exception to WHAT is being called ‘beauty’ and then being set against what is apparently unacceptable to beauty.
linda radfem writes about some below-par dudebro comedy by the men on "the chaser":
This is soo not what The Chaser men do, and I refer to them as men despite their habit of behaving like giant toddlers, because I believe that refering to them normatively as “the chaser boys” kind of minimises their behaviour and lets them off the accountability hook a bit.
and concludes not only that their humour doesn't come close to political satire, but it is also harmful.
in other news, dave letterman got into hot water for some misogynistic jokes about sarah palin's daughter, and finally came up with a pretty decent apology. and wellywood woman discusses the difficulties for women trying to make feature films:
A while ago, I wrote an article about how it’s harder for New Zealand women to make feature films than it is for men. And I discussed how having women as script assessors and decision-makers appears not to help women filmmakers. And how I came to realise that I, too, tended to favour men’s work (as I also wrote here). The editor took those bits out and I wondered: Is this reality sometimes too hard to acknowledge?
a political scandal of the sexual kind led to plenty of victim-blaming in nz over the past month. for non-kiwis, a minister was fired for reasons not known (apparently it's still not in the public interest for the prime minister to tell). it turned out that said minister was under investigation by the police for "a sexual matter". it then turned out that he had been allegedly harassing a different woman via txts and phone calls. the political bun-fight began.
this post by julie at the hand mirror gives a rundown of the allegations. maia, also at the hand mirror, tackles this particular round of victim-blaming. and here, the marvellous queen of thorns takes down one of the nastier commments on another blog. then she takes on the even nastier "women should just harden up" type argument:
It’s got to mean shooting down every man who wants to get you a coffee after you’ve done him a favour. It’s got to mean even bluntly refusing to do a coworker or superior a favour in the first place. It means never letting a guy be nice to you, never letting a guy buy you flowers on your birthday or after a big project winds up or when a close relative dies, because if you won’t say "fuck no get away from me I have no sexual interest in you whatsoever" at the slightest provocation, well, how is he meant to get the message?
aside from the awesome writing, these are a couple of the best titled posts i've seen in a long while!
keri hightlights a case of victim-blaming by commentors on a [alliteration alert!] female footy fans forum, in regards to women who had made allegations of sexual assaults against carlton footballers.
the hand mirror bloggers took on the pr0n debate, starting with this initial post on objectification by ms enid. there was a response of sorts by moi, and a further guest post on the topic by AUSA women's rights officer caroline, the latter generating some pretty heated debate. the queen of thorns jumped into the fray, with her take on the issue. and back at the hand mirror, maia put up an excellent post about why pr0n debates by feminsts so quickly turn to custard:
Media that has been created for the purpose of sexual arousal and produced to be bought and sold ... sits at an intersection: Desire, sex, the construction of men’s sexuality, the construction of women’s sexuality, bodies, work, the role of the state, objectification, the creation of rape culture and commodification ....
It only takes small differences in feminists’ analysis, weighting or experience of a couple of these before they’re coming at the issue that we call ‘pr0nography’ from completely different angles.
and hell on hairy legs gives a quick explanation of why anti-pr0n feminists and social conservatives are not the same. at all.
rocky at the standard writes about why the current new zealand government is showing its contempt for women. over in australia, kim at larvatus prodeo reproduces a piece about the furore caused by sarah hanson-young, a green party MP, taking her child into the debating chamber at parliament. the topic is also very well covered by deborah at in a strange land and here by bluemilk. from deborah's post:
In the olden days, a child would have been at home with her mother, and it would have been her daddy who was the senator. These days, senators and MPs are female and male, parents and childfree, straight and gay, not as many colours of the rainbow as would be nice, but nevertheless, no longer predictably white, male, middle class, and with a nice wife at home to carry all the childcare. Just maybe, it’s time for the rules to change to reflect [that].
and in australia, they have another big political scandal involving a ute and a fake email. get the whole story from rebekka, told in lolcats form - a wonderful combination of cute & hilarious.
lauredhel at hoyden about town gives us a cracker post about why changes to disability parking rules should be of concern to feminists. wildly parenthetical takes the issue further, and discusses the invisibility of certain kinds of disability:
This suggests that even understanding particular bodies as impaired is the result of a presumption about the body. That is, it argues that disability begins at the moment when you understand some bodies as naturally unimpaired, and others as naturally impaired: the drawing of that line is not a neutral, naturally-given one, as we like to pretend. It is a political distinction that is, in itself, invested with the ability system, which, as Lennard Davis argues, is what constitutes particular bodies as disabled, and thus as the problem.
lauredhel calls out another blogger who trivialises a traumatic brain injury by saying that parents are being too "precious" about everything.
anita at kiwipolitico puts down her thoughts in response to the killing of dr george tiller (see here for a discussion by lauredhel on late-term abortions). i express my outrage at the use of the "provocation" defense in the trial of the man who brutally stabbed sophie elliot. dr sapna makes a not-so-serious comparison of racism in australia and new zeland, particularly in reference to the attacks on indian students in melbourne:
I have been to Melbourne so many times. It is a great city; multicultural and dynamic. It is also Australia. The indigenous people are missing, banished to the desert and boondocks to become unemployed alcoholics and gamblers in a perpetual cycle. The media is full of white people with supposedly Ango-Saxon origin, Australian identity denying anything else. Indian students in Melbourne, the ones I have seen in town, loitering at Flinders Street Station and in the trains and buses are regular middle class kids, a little bit frightened, a little bit out of their depth and a little bit defensive.
sandra of ludditejourno talks about women killed in new zealand recently. lauredhel responds to the criticism of trigger warnings on posts containing graphic violence:
Because feeling disgusted, creeped out, sad, scared, or nauseous at these things doesn’t mean I’m ill. It doesn’t mean I’m broken. It means I’m normal. It means I’m paying attention. And it doesn’t need fixing.
clem bastow of the dawn chorus discusses sentencing in rape cases, and in particular asks what "low-level or less serious" rape might be:
The perceived semantics and language of rape – witness the ongoing debate about “grey rape”, “marital rape” and “date rape” (with many pundits and politicians seemingly believing the latter two don’t even exist) – are doubly frustrating because the fact that we even need to argue about the impact of language in these situations demonstrates that the seriousness of rape is still doubted or misunderstood. If a man rapes me, no matter whether I am given a black eye, a slit throat, a drink laced with drugs, or a bunch of flowers afterwards, a man has still raped me. When will the wider community (and, importantly, the legal world) realise that the issue is not (primarily, at least) what happened before, during or after the rape, but the rape itself?
lauredhel highlights another case of a judge trivialising the sexual assault of minors. crowlie writes about denial of sexual harassment by the female boss of tony scrinis, and a rape culture that makes it increasingly difficult for women to come forward.
hell on hairy legs tells us how she is going to communicate feminism to dudebros:
If I don’t have the mental strength to deal with it, it isn’t my job to exhaust myself to educate someone else how to be a decent human being. I’m tired of feminists being treated like we’re outsourced labourers for caring about women... I have a finite amount of time and if someone wants me to raise awareness about rape tourism in Thailand or Sharia law in the Middle East, then they can damn well do it themselves (and they don’t even have to join the uber special feminist club to do it).
richie of crimitism gives us a brilliant post about the use of stick-figure cartoons to destroy the matriarchy. orlando, guest posting at hoyden about town, blogs about a youth radio station which seems to have forgotten that there are women in the music industry. and brenda at coffee geek wants to talk about "the seriously negative sexist incidents that happen from time to time" in the open source software industry that she otherwise loves working in, but doesn't have the energy to cope with the backlash.
bluemilk reviews kate evans' book "the food of love: your formula for successful breastfeeding". lauredhel very competently challenges the notion that society has "gone too far" in supporting breastfeeding mothers:
Show me the people who won’t allow infant formula in an office fridge because it could be carrying disease.
Show me the mainstream media forums in which it’s just fine to call women “filthy”, “perverted”, “gross”, and “cow-like” because they formula feed.
who says feminists can't construct some wonderful food?! fifty-two acts brings us another batch of feminist cookies. the ex-expat continues to delight us at the hand mirror with her cake-decorating skills. and julie has us drooling over cupcakes.
here are a couple of book reviews. emma finds the feminism in charlotte bronte's jane eyre. sajbrfem reviews the female man:
It seemed to me quite early that the book was a kind of an SF 'what if' imagining of Virginia Woolf's Shakespeare's Sister idea. How do a woman's circumstances really effect her? What would the same woman be like if she was able to grow up in a world without patriarchy? "So plastic is humankind."
pavlov's cat writes about the lack of recognition for female novelists, both in the longlist and the shorlist of the miles franklin literary award:
No, it's this: that the masculine world view is still the norm, the feminine world view a lesser variant; that the masculine representation of women is still accepted as the truth, while female resistance to that representation is seen as some kind of wilful rebellion; that masculine values are still (mis)taken as universal values, and feminine ones seen as aberrant and unimportant in the world. Simone de Beauvoir still puts it best, even after all this time. 'There are two types of people in this world: human beings and women.'
yeah, that would be the colour, not the artist. and a little incongruous given this blog is so full of it (pink, i mean!). ms laurie, on the other hand, doesn't like pink:
I wonder, though, if knowing whether the baby is a boy or girl – and knowing only that really – for several months before they arrive is perhaps driving the seemingly relentless march of pinkification/blueifying of clothing, furniture, and accessories of baby boys and girls? If in the rush to do something in those months of waiting for the baby to arrive, people somehow feel the need to try and connect with the unknown, through identifying clearly that their things were chosen specifically for that child, not a child?
deborah finds that even the parent's car parks are... you guessed it, pink! on the related subject of colours, bluemilk talks about gender and the dressing of babies.
some final bits and pieces: kakariki at radical cross stitch does some awesome animation titled "votes for women". and our own steph from the hand mirror answers bluemilk's 10 questions about feminist motherhood in a way that has not been done before - she gives us the point of view of a (very hard-working and totally involved) stepmother:
I think this is true for many stepmothers who don’t have biological children, one day we are own person the next we have these little people that are suddenly in our lives. There’s no period of getting used to the concept of being a parent through pregnancy and no birth to officially ‘mark’ the point in which we become a parent. I think that’s why feel like I gatecrashing some exclusive party. Biological motherhood is placed so high on a pedestal that any questioning of the status is akin to wondering if there is a god. And by our very existence, stepmothers question the status of motherhood which is why our experience of motherhood is frequently belittled by the admonishment all stepmothers love to hate, ‘you’re not the child’s mother.’ I am aware I am not the child’s official mother, the child is aware that I am not her ‘real’ mother. Now that that has been clarified can everyone just move on?
and saving one of the best for last, julie of the hand mirror writes a letter to her son, in preparation for the inevitable chats about sex.
so that's it for this month. hope you enjoy the various contributions as much as i have.