Book Review: Rachel Hills, The Sex Myth

There aren’t many books out there that are a) about sex and sexuality, and b) ace-friendly. So when I first came across Australian journalist Rachel Hill’s book The Sex Myth: The Gap Between Our Fantasies and Reality last year, I was pretty excited, but also slightly nervous. (The nervousness I blame on all those anthropology textbooks I had to read for university one semester that told me that sex was inherently what makes us human – and, well, most of what is written about sex in general.)

Turns out that I really didn’t have to worry in this case, because The Sex Myth is one of the most ace-friendly books about sexuality and sexual culture (for lack of a better term) I’ve ever read. So I thought I’d share some of my thoughts on the book here – alongside copious quotes to illustrate why I like this book so much.

The Sex Myth is all about the role that sex plays in our lives and our society – and critiquing the way that sex has become so all-encompassing, so fundamental to our identities and self-worth and ideas of success, that is has become more powerful and more elevated than all other things we do … More Book Review: Rachel Hills, The Sex Myth

The Stuff in Between (some thoughts on sex and gender)

Something every new feminist, I think, has to contend with at some point is the question of gender, and what it really is. My own understanding of this question has gone through quite a few evolutions over the years I’ve been interested in feminism and its theory and practice. This post is a bit of a reflection on my own changing understanding of sex and gender and the relationship of the two – nothing cohesive, just some of my own musings over the years.

The first revelation came quite easily, at some point in high school, the idea that sex and gender are not actually the same thing. It’s the most basic realisation of gender studies, social science, anthropology and most humanities fields, and since I picked up on it, it’s felt so commonplace and obvious I have to roll my eyes when my intro to anthropology lecturer spends a whole lecture on it, only to continue to get it wrong throughout … More The Stuff in Between (some thoughts on sex and gender)

The 82nd Edition of the Down Under Feminists’ Carnival

The DUFC is a collection of writing on broadly-defined feminist issues by Australian and New Zealand bloggers. It encompasses everything from political commentary to topics like race, gender, sexual inequality, queer issues, disability, human rights and social justice, sex and relationships, fat politics, feminist theory and more.

Welcome to the 82nd Edition of the Down Under Feminists’ Carnival!

Thanks to everyone who contributed to this edition! I hope you all enjoy. … More The 82nd Edition of the Down Under Feminists’ Carnival

Dear UQ Sustainability: Please stop your ableism and fat-shaming

Dear UQ Sustainability:

I recently had the pleasant surprise of spotting the new sign you put up next to the elevator in the Michie Building, and possibly next to other elevators across campus. I think it is lovely that you are concerned with making UQ more sustainable and lowering its environmental footprint. However, I was very unimpressed with the way you’ve chosen to tackle this issue. Not only are these news signs annoyingly patronising to everyone reading them, but also ableist and fat-shaming … More Dear UQ Sustainability: Please stop your ableism and fat-shaming

Why is Rape in Art ‘Exquisite’?

Content note: discussion (and non-explicit visuals) of sexual violence, rape apology.

The internet has been somewhat crazy of late because a man wore a sexist shirt while being interviewed on TV, was called out on it, and subsequently apologised. It all wouldn’t have been such a big deal, really, except that all of a sudden feminism was being charged with obliterating a man’s scientific achievements and censoring artistic expression. Or so the media circus went.

I have been travelling lately, around Italy, and as such I have been in a lot of museums and galleries. I mainly went to these places to see the Roman collections, as I don’t pretend to be very interested or knowledgeable about art in general. But I also dropped in on a few other exhibitions, to see the sort of things generally seen as part of the canon of the Western artistic tradition, the masters, if you will.

Turns out, the masters seemed to be fascinated with rape, especially scenes of rape from Classical myth. Proserpina, the Sabines, Lucretia. On more than one occasion, I wished I’d brought along a pen and paper so I could make little placards to stick next to the paintings and sculptures. ‘Warning,’ they would have said, ‘this piece contains scenes of violence against women.’ I wonder if that would have caused a similar media circus to shirtgate. … More Why is Rape in Art ‘Exquisite’?

Naked Bodies = Sex

In western society, it’s generally thought that nudity is something that belongs in private, and not in public. As a kid, running around without clothes on isn’t really frowned upon – it’s considered innocent and natural. But as soon as you hit puberty or thereabouts, it suddenly becomes less ok, unless you’re in the privacy … More Naked Bodies = Sex

Gym reflections

Tomorrow I am heading back to the gym. I have mixed feelings about it. I’m going because my physio recommended it to help me deal with back pain (and associated issues) I’ve had for a few years now. Pilates and yoga, mainly. (I’m counting them as belonging to the category of ‘going to the gym’ … More Gym reflections