50th Edition of the Down Under Feminists’ Carnival

Welcome to the 50th Edition of the Down Under Feminists’ Carnival!

Fifty editions is quite a milestone, though with the unclear status of the last few months, I’m not really sure if it is the fiftieth edition after all. But that does not matter, because I have a wonderful collection of submissions for the month of June!


Sexuality and Identity

There seems to be a lot of misunderstanding and marginalising of labels and identities going on lately. At The Lady Garden, Emma blogs about how desire is not a choice, which means that bisexuality is not a choice either, or an excuse, or wrong. And here at A Life Unexamined, I write about why I love and need my label, and how not needing a label is a privilege I do not have.

Elsewhere, Steph at All My Penguins talks about identity and changing names again and again until you find one that fits, while Lessons to be Learned shares her thoughts on wanting to fit in and and learning to be your own kind of girl.

Finally, Chally from Zero at the Bone was the only person awesome enough to take me up on my optional carnival theme of gender and essentialism, with this lovely post on interrogating and refining the defining of womanhood (what a mouthful of a sentence!).


The Debate-that-should-not-even-be-a-debate: Marriage Equality

Also being heatedly discussed is the question of whether same-sex couples should be allowed the same civil rights as opposite-sex couples. I don’t know about you, but this seems a bit of a non-question to me… And it seems a lot of other bloggers agree that the anti-marriage-equality rhetoric is ridiculous. Here’s a post to start us off from Ivy at Settle Petal: President Obama supports same-sex marriage, and we feminists should too!

At Ideologically Impure, Queen of Thorns challenges one of the main anti-marriage-equality arguments – that it isn’t possible for children to have role models of either sex apart from their parents, who must strictly maintain the “Female Parental Unit A and Male Parental Unit B” model. Bec from Opinions @ Bluebec.com has an interesting post on the Judeo-Christian tradition and how many people assume that their God hates queer people just because they do, and the sillyness of using the Bible to support this idea. And oh my, have we managed to get this far without an offensive Nazi comparison? Fear not, there’s this piece from Chrys at Gladly, the Cross-Eyed Bear, about how the anti-marriage-equality lobby has gotten so desperate that it indeed resorts to calling marriage equality activists the “gaystapo” and “rainbow fascists.”


Being a Feminist: theory and practise

First up, a new blog, started in June! Utopiana has started blogging about feminism from an Aboriginal perspective at Rantings of an Aboriginal Feminist. Here’s her introductory post, where she talks about why she wanted to start blogging as a feminist. At Confessions of a Stuffed Olive (officially the best blog name ever), Holly also has a lovely post on her decision to describe herself as a feminist as well as a writer – even though feminism is sometimes seen as a Bad Thing by readers.

Stephanie at ginger honey shares a pertinent reminder that while the misogyny of individuals is an issue, sexism is a problem that affects all women collectively – and as such, we need to focus on collective liberation as well as individual empowerment. Here at my own blog, I wrote a post on what I see as the shortcomings of the sex-positive framework that most feminists belong to, in particular in regards to intersecting identities.

And over at Zero at the Bone, this short post of Chally’s really resonated with me, on laughter and fear and power, and how telling someone that they can’t take a joke is just taking away their power.


Bodies and Body Policing

Sonya at lip talks about body policing through jeans and bikinis, and proudly proclaims my apple bottom will wear those jeans; my doughnut belly will rock that bikini! Also at lip, Siobhan writes on letting go of “pretty” – and how there is no space in her wardrobe for the pretty patrol. Elsewhere, Utopiana from Rantings of an Aboriginal Feminist talks about hairy, scary women, and refutes some of the most common arguments she’s heard about why women aren’t allowed to have body hair.

Following the trend of men speaking about women’s bodies and rights that’s now being exposed in the feminist blogosphere, here’s a post where Fat Heffalump criticises that way that opinion pieces on obesity and weight issues are always written by thin people. Go figure. She also has an interview with Rene Rice from new business Flying Pig Apparel, who has started creating activewear in plus sizes. This makes her very happy!

At Well behaved women rarely make history, Scuba Nurse writes an emotional post on the challenges of being positive about your body when it is actually failing you.


Misogyny 101

Where is there so much to include in this category?

At Maybe it Means Nothing, Jshoep has a message to people who ask to watch porn with you on your phone while waiting in a line: Don’t. She is not free game to your arseholery because she is “out without an owner.” And another thing that women are not? Perpetual child-minding machines – as Ivy of Settle Petal proclaims.

Julie at The Hand Mirror shares a picture of a billboard that blatantly objectifies women by calling them “things.” I suppose we are meant to feel flattered that men are calling us “beautiful things”? And just in case we’ve forgotten how independent women who don’t stand for this are actually to blame for everything that is wrong with the world, here’s a post by Robyn at Love versus Goliath about the so-called Independent Woman Syndrome and why it is bullshit.


Rape culture all around

At Hoyden About Town, tigtog snarks (in a frustrated way) at rape culture myth #1, and suggests that rather than simply not being able to control their urges, rapists actually go to extreme lengths to find the most convenient circumstances for rape. Funny that.  Elsewhere, LudditeJourno reports on the way that the New Zealand media and Rugby Union first denied, then took seriously, then completely dismissed sexual assault allegations against a junior All Blacks player. [TW: rape culture]


Reproductive (in)Justice

At A Bee of a Certain Age, Deborah would like to tell all those liberal dudes who think women’s bodily autonomy is an issue that only distracts from More Important Things just what she thinks of these claims. (In short? Bullshit.) Queen of Thorns blogs at Ideologically Impure about a new proposed New Zealand abortion law and the anti-choice propaganda behind this. [Content warning for sexual and child abuse.]


Parenting and Motherhood

To start with, Blue Milk at her blog of the same name has an excellent post pointing out some of the privilege issues that are being ignored by the recent discussions on stay-at-home mothers, especially in terms of class and capitalism. At Spilt Milk, Elizabeth posts on how society always conceptualises mothers as losing them selves through motherhood, and how she’s found herself instead.

At In a garden somewhere, Cristy posts about birth plans and how her dismay at being classed a “birthzilla” for simply wanting to maintain control over her body during her pregnancy. (Maybe that’s too radical for some people. Who knows.) And PharaohKatt thinks about breastfeeding and reviews the documentary “Is Breast Best? Cherry Healey Investigates“.


Women and Work

Three posts, all looking at different aspects of women and work. Penguin Unearthed gives us an update on women on boards and some recent research and studies in Europe to promote equal opportunity in higher-up positions. Deborah at A Bee of a Certain Age writes about working mothers, and how policies aimed only at making sure sole parents are working do nothing to actually address working mothers’ problems. And you know how we’re always talking about having it all? Blue Milk reviews an article about why women can’t have it all, and discusses how they’re not to blame, and how we can make it better.


Politics, and Being a Public Figure while Female

Starting off with a little politics, Bec at Opinions @ Bluebec.com tackles a twitter comment that the Catholic church has done more good for humanity than the Greens ever will, and the tendency to forget about history.

The media seems to have some pretty silly standards for women politicians. Just last week I went to see a community musical against coal seam gas mining, and in one sketch the three female ministers sang about “not being able to say no” and were accused of “not caring enough.” Obviously caring is something only women politicians are required to do. Wearing makeup seems to be another of these requirements. Stargazer at The Hand Mirror discusses the ridiculous outrage of Hillary Clinton not wearing make-up, because obviously this is just unacceptable for a female politician, and a lot more important than the policy actually being discussed. On a similar note, The  News With Nipples, has an excellent post on how the private lives and personal characters of women in public positions are always up for misogynistic scrutiny.

EJ Cook at Settle Petal reports on the hate campaigns targeted at Anita Sarkeesian for daring to speak her mind while being female, and points out that by trying to silence her, the perpetrators of the hate campaign are trying to intimidate every woman into silence. My inner Latin geek would like to reiterate her closing words: nil carborundum illegitimi! Over at Hoyden About Town, tigtog has another post on this whole ridiculous, misogynistic hatefest. It looks like speaking out in public while being female is still a very risky thing to do.


TV, Movies and Literature

Skud guest blogs at Hoyden About Town about her disappointment with ABC documentary Utopia Girls, and points out that its “we all live in a 21st century feminist wonderland” isn’t doing women any good at all. On a similar theme, Zoya at lip posts about her mixed feelings towards the new HBO show Girls and the way it deals with sexual harassment in the workplace: not well.

Over at Stargazer, Anjum shares a review of Brave, and while she found some parts cliche, the female leadership and mother-daughter relationship made the move well worth seeing. And Orlando posts at Hoyden About Town about Shakespeare and the Bechdel Test – and the bard actually does better than I expected. Orlando suggests we think of him as a “Joss Whedon in doublet and hose” (though personally, I’m on the side of Whedon a little more).


Put your activist hats on!

LudditeJourno has posted at The Hand Mirror looking for people to help with the Women’s Refuge Annual Appeal on the 20-21st July. If you’re based in New Zealand, head over there and consider helping out!

Likewise, the Premier of Doom (aka Campbell Newman) has actually gone insane and is axing community services left, right and centre. Already defunded this month are the Queensland Association for Healthy Communities, which does GLBT health and activism, and Sisters Inside, which supports women in prisons. Please consider checking out the links to see how you can help protest these funding cuts. But that’s not all: Newman is also criminalising surrogacy for same-sex couples, singles and de-facto couples of two years or less, as well as making it illegal for children to have two legal parents of the same sex. Blue Milk has an excellent post on this and an example letter to send to your MP if you’re in Queensland. (I know this is a July post, but it’s important and needs to be included here.)


That’s all for this edition! I hope you’ve enjoyed the wonderful postings of our Down Under Feminists. The next edition will be hosted by Ju Transcendancing at The Conversationalist. Until then, have a lovely July!

14 thoughts on “50th Edition of the Down Under Feminists’ Carnival

  1. Oh my goodness, so much awesome to read through!

    Thanks for putting it all together, Jo.

    Also, on a slightly unrelated note, but while I’m commenting: I keep meaning to comment and say: I really love all your thoughts about sex positive feminism and asexuality. It can be difficult to articulate how these two identifications can intersect, relate and also problematise each other, and you explain it all so well. I found your recent point that “The institution of compulsory sexuality still underpins sex-positivism,” particularly interesting and compelling, though for me I tend to consider sex positivism (at least my own) to support the right to not have sex as much as anything else… You have, though, prompted me to be more explicit about this point. Sometimes in a desire to live in a world where we don’t need to be explicit that people shouldn’t be judged for their desires and decisions over their own bodies, I forget that we aren’t anywhere near there yet. *sigh*


    1. Hi Holly, glad you like my posts! Asexuality and sex-positivism is definitely difficult to get your head around. I think in some cases people do mention asexuality or not wanting to have much sex as a means of being inclusive, but it kind of turns into a token gesture because it’s never actually talked about in more than a sentence. And then some people really emphasise that we must have sex and that sexual liberation (in the form of having an extensive sex life) is a source of empowerment. That’s something I’ve absolutely never been able to feel for myself. So even where asexuality or no sexual desire is mentioned, that’s all it ever is – mentioned. And in other spaces it’s just ignored or pathologised. That’s just my experience though.

  2. Yay! What a huge and wonderful list, and thanks for including me! Some weekend reading for me… *rubs hands together*

  3. Wow, I had no idea that you had plugged my work here until I checked my site stats. Thank you so much! I really appreciate it.

    And great page by the way!

  4. Thank you to everyone for the lovely comments on this edition, I’m very happy that you’ve enjoyed it! Especially after the few months’ break, I also hope that the bloggers concerned are just busy and not not-ok.

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