Welcome to Monday ~ 2 January 2012

The Spire on Fire - bring on 2012 (Photo: Michelle Griffin)

Oh. My. God. It’s 2012! Welcome to the new year feminausts, we hope you had a great NYE and are looking forward to a fulfilling year ahead.

She who must not be named Award

I love any post that makes it obvious that in most mainstream discussions about gender equality it is men who are absent from the discussion – and that is a major factor for why we aren’t going towards the Feminist Mecca very quickly. While men are absent in these conversations in many ways, the most damaging way is when they are not discussed as solutions/agents for change to solve the gender inbalance. It puts the emphasis on solving this gender equality thing on women. I.e., how do we fix gender equality in boardrooms? Quotas for women (not caps for men), or, make it easier for women to work longer hours through childcare, flexi time (not ask men to provide equal support in the domestic sphere), or my favourite – maternity leave (not paternity leave).

And the Award goes to News With Nipples who points out that “she who must not be named” is actually a “he”. (And no, she doesn’t just mean Voldermort, though he could start cleaning up after himself once in a while).

Continue reading

Powerful women and the diversity of feminisms

A little unscheduled rock climbing in the Gobi Desert

For those regular readers who haven’t guessed yet, I’m a feminist and proud of it. As my bio says, I’m a sort of “take no prisoners, you’re either with me or against me” kinda feminist and while this doesn’t always win me friends, the ones that do stick around are loyal and just as proud of me and my achievements as I am. The people for whom my enthusiasm causes the most angst therefore, is my family. The people who can’t choose to walk away and remove themselves. The result is most commonly, my mother and my brother asking me to tone myself down a bit around certain people, well let’s be honest, around pretty much anyone except them and even sometimes then. For them, my loud, passionate and defiant activism and altruism can be embarrassing, conflicting and challenging. This can be hard for me to accept sometimes, thinking that as my family, they should be able to be as proud of me as my friends are, however recently I started thinking about whether or not I reciprocated the support that I expected and often, I think perhaps I don’t. Continue reading

Redefining Professionalism: bringing the post-patriarchy one step closer

Does this look professional to you? feminaust co-founder MsElouise at the official launch of feminaust.org

What do you imagine when you think of professionalism. What does it look and sound like to you? Dark suits and ties? Nice language? Good education? Handshakes and jugs of water? Good reporting and accountability? Until a few recent events culminated in a radical change in me, that’s pretty much what I had in mind. Professionalism was about having the answers, good research, well written reports and measures of accountability. It looked like a dark suit, maybe a few touches of colour. It sounded well educated, well thought out and respectful. I’m not so sure anymore though.

What if professionalism could be whatever we wanted it to be and more importantly, as women, what if we could redefine it entirely? In feminist studies we sometimes talk about the post-patriarchy, the promised land of gender equality and the redefinition of traditional patriarchal values. I think that post-professionalism is one step on the road to the post-patriarchy and I’m excited about exploring what that means, particularly for young women. Continue reading

Feminists are Better in Bed ~ 19th October, 2011

Yes I said it and I stand by it. Ever since I read Full Frontal Feminism by the spectacular Jessica Valenti (of feministing awesomeness) I’ve loved the way that you can bring feminists concepts like enthusiastic consent, relationship equality and sexual and reproductive health and rights to make unforgetable bedroom antics. And the best bit? There’s definitely no exclusivity here, male, female, queer, straight, all ethnic groups, anyone can have better sex if they’re a feminist. Why? because the basic tenant of feminism, that women shouldn’t be treated like doormats, equals better negotiation, better collaboration and better conversation, all desired ingredients for good orgasms.  Continue reading

Stuck in the Middle with Two ~ Tess Fox

They say it’s trendy to be bisexual… to live the foot-loose and panty-free life of a swingin’ sister. Blissed out on the opportune role of the ambidextrous, ambi-sextrous …player of all fields.

Well let me let you in on a little secret: being impartial is hardly ever a case of tasty extras on the side of some happy meal deal.

Sometimes it feels as though I’m in a one woman freak show; in a two fruit juggling act…the banana impossible to catch for any length of time and the papaya far too frequently bruised… and all the while not knowing which comes more instinctively and which to lend more time to.

And who are the audience to feel informed enough to tell me what to do?

This is the life I chose… it has nothing to do with what your mother and father taught you.

Straight loving, urban living, gay clubbing punters say… Ooh juggling must be fun…I wish I could enjoy more than… one. You must feel like a kid in a candy store, having the entire populous at your hands.

…like somehow my condition entails a whole new trendy super-sexual and fundamentally easy set of emotional demands.

Well let me tell you of the personal agenda swaying on its stilts for lack of solid soil to stand. Bisexuality is not a euphoric phase of nymph-like dwelling from Adam to Eve.

For many it’s a place of confusion where cunt and heart switch turns in a game of Ill at Ease… where pride becomes prejudice and prejudice, pride and while you never intended to fall into place you can’t help but find yourself forever… on the other side.

Image “No Confusion” taken from KlemenRobnik‘s Flickr account under Creative Commons License 

Review: No Such Thing as Normal, Off the Wall Youth Circus Troupe at the Melbourne Fringe Festival

News Flash: Off The Wall Troupe will be performing No Such Thing As Normal at the Adelaide Fringe Festival from the 25th Feb to 4th March 2012. Get your info and tickets now! And meet the cast at Festival Fishbowl.

I just got home from the Melbourne Fringe Festival with my brother and had to write about the show I saw IMMEDIATELY.

Those of you who know me will know that I’ve been involved with Westside Circus through my work for a while now. Those who don’t should check out the work that Westside does straight away and everyone should grab tickets to go see the newly formed Off the Wall youth troupe’s Fringe Festival performance: No Such Thing as Normal.

From what I understand, Off the Wall is a new troupe, consisting of former Behind the Wall performers. I also understand that the troupe is entirely organised, directed, produced, planned and everything else by the young people involved. Very impressive, not least because the show was absolutely awesome. Continue reading

Welcome to Monday ~ 19th September 2011

No women, no peace

Ah a spring Monday in Melbourne. How many kinds of weather shall we get today? Seven? Ten? SOCK IT TO ME I can take it.

Here’s our Monday round up of interesting, perplexing, and annoying links from the previous week.  Art in India, the danger of women in leadership, and the utterly terrifying changes occurring in Mississippi; its all here! Enjoy reading, and remember these links do not necessary reflect our views, arguments strengthen us all etc etc.

Panther Award

So here’s something interesting; you can change your gender on your Aussie passport without having to undergo surgery, which seems to be a pretty important symbol of the increasing acceptance of what Rudd call’s “sex and gender diverse people”. Actually awesome. Go Australia!

Continue reading

Representation: children in art.

Most Australians will probably remember the Bill Henson debarkle back in 2008 when a number of photographs of children were removed from an art gallery and labelled as “disgusting” and pornographic, despite having no intent to arouse and there existing no evidence of abuse of the children.

The debate that followed was heated, often ill informed and caused a great divide among the community. There were those who believed that whether abuse was present or not the images could arouse some viewers and should therefore be removed. There were those that said this was censorship gone mad, that children were a legitimate artistic subject and should be allowed to be so. Many people felt torn by a desire to protect children from abuse and an understanding that this was not such a case, that it really was art and that the pictures really were beautiful and not at all pornographic. The debate sort of reminds me of the sex worker debate that has been raging on feminaust over the last few weeks. The conflict between people who want to protect trafficked women and do so by vilifying the entire industry to “rescue” them and those who recognise that it is not the industry that is evil or immoral but individuals and groups within the industry, much like any other. The gut reaction to want to protect children from abuse is noble and justified however the censorship of legitimate art is not the solution. The Bill Henson case is not the first and will certainly not be the last. Continue reading

Panther Responds ~ Real Men and Newspaper Fillers

Where have all the real men gone, laments Bryony Gordon?

Well, if you are looking for a knight in shining armour, a Heathcliff, a Mr Darcy or, lets cut to the chase, the freaking cavemen that Gordon appears to favour, then you might indeed be in trouble. Gordon bemoans the disappearance of such figures, which makes this Panther desire to whack her own head against the wall. Because when Gordon wails “where have all the real men gone”, she really means she’s a wee bit freaked out by the fading strength of gender stereotypes over both men and women. And however much she and her editors might pretend this is a puff piece, a wee little column designed to fill in gaps in the newspapers that they couldn’t sell to advertisers, Gordon’s column is harmful and dangerous and represents a worrying rise in attacks against men who dare to move beyond traditional masculine definitions of themselves.

Continue reading

Welcome to Monday ~ September 5 2011

Dear Monday, you suck. Please go away and send Saturday back in……now! Damn it, why are my time traveling powers failing me now when I need them most! Here’s some links to what the feminaust’s have been reading this week – hope you enjoy them! And remember, these links don’t necessarily reflect the views of the feminausts, in the name of objectivity I’ve included some really, really irritating links.

Article of the Week!

The good men project was on a roll this week – here’s a post by Jason Sperber about what it means to “be a man”. The radical basis of second wave feminism was the way in which the concept of what it meant to “be a woman” was investigated and analyzed (or at least, that’s what I think).  It’s great to see the same kind of analysis being applied to the masculine gender roles  in a serious way.

Continue reading