Laughing till you cry: why rape jokes are never ok


“That awkward moment when you randomly target a girl for rape and it turns out to be your sister….Christmas is going to be uncomfortable this year”

It’s that time of year again, so I felt inspired to share that lovely festive joke a male friend of mine told me recently. I may be bias due to my feminist sensitivities, but hearing such vile words, and from a friend I’ve known for nearly 10 years was both shocking and disappointing.

I challenged him about the inappropriate nature of the joke, but he proceeded to defend his statement vehemently – claiming that is was black humour, a little harmless satire that doesn’t hurt anyone. We debated furiously about the issue over the next week.

While his joke mocks a violent and unspeakable act experienced by 1 in 6 women during their lifetime, it was also his inability to understand the degree of damage rape jokes can cause that upset me.

The debate about whether or not rape jokes are ok is highly controversial. Understandably, no one wants to live an uptight, PC culture. Some say it’s freedom of speech, satire or simply “just a joke” and feminists should all have a collective un-bunching of our panties.

But researchers at Western Carolina University have found scientific evidence linking rapes jokes to the promotion of violence and prejudice.

“Humor, as a medium of communication, changes the manner in which we interpret a given message. The levity of humor invites us to treat a sentiment, whether decent or reprehensible, as a matter of play. Sexist humor—the denigration of women through humor—for instance, trivializes sex discrimination under the veil of benign amusement, thus precluding challenges or opposition that nonhumorous sexist communication would likely incur” (Boxer, Edel, Ford, 2007) Continue reading

Welcome to Monday! ~ 15th December 2014

bless our home

Welcome! to another fine Monday morning. I’m feeling fresh and energised, mostly because I’m looking after a giant American Staffy at the moment who I have to walk every morning with two leads to ensure I have him under control. He’s really just a 30kg puppy which can be a lot of fun, until there’s a cat across the road.

Anyway, onto the link love. Hope you’re all enjoying life and excited about the festive season when I will be having exactly zero time off as I’m saving all my leave for March when my mum and I are doing something crazy and riding our ponies to Canberra from Melbourne…!!! If you’re interested in that, we have our own blog! Check it out here.

Germany will have a gender quota on boards from 2016! YAY!

If you’re interested in femaust’s take on quotas you can read this artcle or this one (or both). Continue reading

Welcome to Monday! ~ 8th December 2014

Bp_fXA3CQAI8ma8It is with great sadness that feminaust recognises the passing of Stella Young, a passionate, eloquent, sexy, opinionated, femininist, badass. For those of you who met, heard, read or experienced Stella you will understand the inspiration that she provoked. For those of you who missed the chance while she lived, please take some time to get to know her through the extensive public record. We have included a few choice bits below.

If you consume nothing else, let it be this TED talk “I am not your inspiration”

Don’t call me “a person with a disability”

I wanted to feel like a rainbow paddlepop

Disability disent silenced by the cancelling of the ABCs Ramp Up

An interview from 2012

Inspiration Porn

The Wheel Perspective Continue reading

Welcome to Monday! ~ 1st December 2014

World-AIDS-Day-2014-Theme-3HAPPY WORLD AIDS DAY!!! Don’t forget to think about all the women around the world who are living with HIV and AIDS today and spare a thought for the amazing teams of researchers, community workers, healthcare professionals and others who are fighting back.

Sorry about the radio silence lovely feminausts. It’s been a long month and we’ve been very busy. But now we’re onto the countdown to the end of another very feminaust year and soon it will be time to start preparations and planning for 2015. I would like to take this opportunity to invite any and all of you to contact us if you’re interested in supporting feminaust into the future. IsBambi and I are both very busy chicas and IsBambi is leaving Australia soon to look for adventures elsewhere and so will just not have the time she used to have to support this little enterprise. If you think you could lend a hand, we’d love to hear from you is how you find us! Continue reading

Welcome to Monday! ~ 13th October 2014

A-League-of-Their-Own-geena-davis-13993980-853-480Have you got your tickets to feminaust’s third birthday party yet? It’s a casual affair, just you, me, some other people, some drinks and an AWESOME MOVIE!!!! You can get your tickets via this link here and we highly recommend you do as there are only 30 seats in our little cinema and half of the tickets have already been sold. That’s right. HALF!!!!!!!!!!

All the money we get we will be putting away with a little lady called EDITH who you may have heard us bang on about a bit PLUS there’s gonna be feminaust merch for sale on the night. That’s right, you’ll be able to get your hot little hands on something cool with the feminaust logo on it! (excatly what those cool items will be is yet to be confirmed). Anyway, here’s the link again. Go get your tickets!

Sarah Silverman closes the wage gap.

“Anybody who looked at those pictures, you’re perpetuating a sexual offense,” she said. “You should cower with shame.” – Jennifer Lawrence

We received an email a few weeks ago asking us to include this website on our site. It’s for single mums and includes information on support, travel, apps to help you during separation and lots more. We haven’t had an extensive look at it so don’t necessarily endorce anything but we would like to share it with any single feminaust mums out there.

Neil Gaiman is writing fairytales for diverse audiences now. With a princess being woken with a kiss from a queen!

Victorian State Government pledges some cash to tackle family violence…so close to an election… it’s good money but does it really indicate a purposeful intention by the government to crack down on family violence?

Welcome to Fringe Thursday ~ 9th October 2014

Women-are-very-funny_o_104824Well the Melbourne Fringe Festival has been and gone and all the comics and cabareters and tragic clowns and singers and film makers and all the rest have gone back to whatever it is that they do when they’re not on stage (coz we all know that most entertainers have to have “real” jobs as well). I’ve been lucky this year, most years I attend a few shows, mostly of artists I already know and love and have a nice time and go home. But this year, due to some expantion of my social network and some lovely invitations from fans of feminaust I got to be introduced to a whole bunch of new artists or artists I knew of but had never seen perform. And bestest of all was that many of these performers were awesome women doing awesome things and being very funny.

The debate about whether or not women are funny is an old and boring one that I really just couldn’t be arsed getting into coz lets be honest. They are funny. Not all of them. But lots of them. And so there we go. Debate over. Now on for the links! Some of the female performers feminaust has seen at this and other Fringe events.

Candy Bowers. Not at this years event but feminaust saw her a few years ago and thought (and still think) that she was AMAZEBALLS!!!!!!!!

Nicolette Minster. New for us and OH SO Charming! feminaust saw her Fringe show Inanimately this year and loved the sexy, self depricating and incredible clever storytelling delivered with exceptional physical and intellectual comic timing.

feminaust was invited to Wham Bam but we ran out of time so missed it but it looks like it was awesome so it deserves a mention.

A Four Eyed Guide to the Galaxy (editors admission: I WENT TO SCHOOL WITH THIS CHICK!!!). So awesome.

Girls AND boys in this show but it was also the funniest and scariest thing I HAVE EVER SEEN. So if it comes back or travels to your town. Please do yourself a favour and go see Watson: Who’s afraid of the dark?

Listen out for the Castanets. No castanets but a five minute story that takes fifty minutes to tell and makes you wet yourself a little bit along the way (editors admission: another one that I’m not willing to write in capitals just yet but just know I know this laydee so there might be conflict and stuff).

Welcome to Monday! ~ 6th October 2014

feminist4Got this from my sister in law this morning. GOLD! Check whether your employer is taking action on gender pay inequity.

What Women Want – post 2015

The 31 most powerful part-timers (I’m a part timer. Part time is the BEST!)

Conspiracy Theorist Naomi Wolf

The racist nature of the “Where are you from?” question.

Move over Morse, femal detectives are taking over your tv!

Pregnancy discrimination

Woman GIFs

Maroon 5 being as gross as Robin Thicke

When will we stop calling successful women abrasive?

Laverne Cox has a new doco!!!


Welcome to Cashola Thursday! ~ 2nd October 2014

Aus50-note-reverseCashola. Money. Moula. Folding Stuff. When it comes to making positive change in the world, sometimes the only things standing in our way is we need some cold hard cash to do it. Have a look at Clive Palmer! He has all the cash and now he’s elected he gets to make all the decisions (well not all of them but he’s involved in lots of them). Yes, there are some very spectacular anarchists out there fighting against capitalism and the constant need for money to have your voice heard but they’re also having to work twenty times as hard for half the results as those people who are in the money. So. What is being done about this? Welcome to a roundup of all the different ways feminism is being funded around the world.

The Association for Women’s Rights in Development have been asking the question “Where’s the money?” for some time now and for anyone interested in feminist and women’s funding, this is the first place to look for information, advice and advocacy. Continue reading

Thoughts from Melbourne Slutwalk 2014 ~ by Brihony Tulloch


Photo Credit: Brihony Tulloch

Photo Credit: Brihony Tulloch

The spring sunshine burns down on the gathering crowd at the Melbourne State Library. Women both young and old stand on the steps holding signs. A girl in a bra, stockings and garters hangs off a nearby lamppost trying to capture the perfect shot of the crowd. There is an aura of peace and solidarity amoung the group – every moment of eye contact is met with a smile. I feel comfortable and welcome.

Co-founder and organiser Karen Pickering steps up to the microphone at the front of the crowd and welcomes everyone to SlutWalk 2014.

“Why do we march at SlutWalk? We’re here because we want to say to survivors of sexual assault and rape that it was not your fault”

The crowd erupts with cheers and applause.

Karen goes on to talk about how research shows that between the ages of 10 and 19 women are most vulnerable to acts of sexual assault. I’m sure most of the feminist community can agree that street violence, like rape, slut shaming, domestic violence and victim blaming are symptoms of a deeply patriarchal society. As research also shows , sexual violence is often about power and dominance. In most cases, whether or not someone was provocatively dressed or drunk has nothing to do with why they were harassed.

“The only thing that leads to a rape is a rapist” Kat yells at the crowd. Continue reading

Cry Me a River of Privileged Tears


There has been much recent discussion about the “rise” of the empowered woman and its effect on young men, Kay Hymowitz’s appearance on the ABC’s Q&A last Monday night being a particularly good example. The common narrative goes something like this. Young women are growing up in a society with destabilised traditional gender roles and increased economic and sexual independence. They no longer “need” men and thus the “natural” equilibrium of centuries old gender hierarchy has disappeared leaving a gaping, murky hole. Men do not know what to make of these highly evolved modern women and feel unsure and suspicious about how to navigate their complex, contradictory desires and “mixed messages”. This results in them either “opting out” and remaining perpetual adolescents or becoming confused, lonely and sad because no matter how hard they try they just can’t get women to behave how they “should”. Continue reading