Personhood = Patriarchy

2011 was a strange year for American uteruses. I’m hoping that 2012 proves more fruitful (in an entirely un-fertility pun sense) for the rights of women to make basic choices for their sexual and reproductive health and rights however in the mean time I want to have a little think about the concept of personhood (an attempted constitutional amendment which would legislate that human-ness starts at conception) and how it equates to not only bullocks-iness but also massive patriarchy-ness.

Why?

Because if a human begins at conception it means that the MAN is responsible for life, not the WOMAN. Conception is the moment at which the sperm enters the egg and voila! human-ness. At this point, all the woman has had to do is sprout a little egg out a folicle (oh and of course spread her legs, willingly or unwillingly). While I would never support any similar legislation that suggested life begins at implantation or at foetal heartbeat or any other meaningless moment in time that the woman’s body has more control over, I feel like the concept of personhood beginning at the moment of conception is particularly rancid precisely because it takes away all control from the woman. 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

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.

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Panther Responds ~ Fatness as a Feminist Issue

Why is the fat all that we are?

The funnest bit about writing the Monday Round up is that I get to rant about a lot of things. The annoying bit is that I can’t rant for very long. So welcome to the first of a (hopefully) regular event; Panther Responds, in which I write a response to something I linked on Monday.

This past Monday, I linked to a a particularly awesome post by Skeptifem on weight loss surgery (WLS) as a feminist issue, and it got me thinking about how we understand fat in our modern culture. I find this a complex issue, for several reasons. I am on the heavier side myself, so occasionally this stuff can feel a little too close to home for me; more than that, however, the aim of feminism should be to give women and men space to make decisions for themselves in all areas of their life, including appearance. To this end, I feel uncomfortable commenting on something that I traditionally understand as totally private – if it makes someone feel better, be healthier and look snazzy in a skirt, why not have surgeries do it? Or starve for a year? Or work out for 8 hours a day?

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Welcome to Monday ~ August 29 2011

Are we really still meant to be paying for Eve's mistake?

Another Monday, another set of interesting links for our brilliant readers! Some are irritating (ye olde “can you be a feminist and sexy” debate) some are mind bendingly ridiculous (did you know the Catholic church is more feminist than the rest of us?) and, thankfully, the usual selection of intelligent thought-provoking articles. Let’s get into it!

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Can I stand on your face? Is it ok for social advocates to shit on each other?

PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) rose to promenance in 1981 when they were successful in getting the first conviction of an animal tester on the basis of cruelty to animals. Since then they have been involved in cases and campaigns as diverse as convincing McDonalds to introduce animal treatment standards and new training regulations introduced in the US for entertainment animals. I’m not here to talk about the good of what PETA has done for animal welfare however, I’m here to discuss whether or not it’s ok for one social advocate to kick another social advocate in the face, to achieve their own goals. Whose face is PETA kicking right now? Well us, feminists.

For some time now PETA has been using nudity in its campaigning. Starting with the “I’d rather go naked than wear fur” project, it has increasingly used the sexualisation of its models, not just their nudity, to garner support, particularly with one of its most high profile supporters, Pamela Anderson. Anderson has been involved in a number of PETA campaigns, most notably the “all animals have the same parts” project which pictured Anderson in a bikini and a sexualised pose with her body segmented like an old fashioned butchers diagram. This was just the start however, earlier this week PETA announced its plan to launch a fully fledged porn site, with an animal rights flavour.

So, is it ok for one social activism campaign to shit all over another social activism campaign just to get hits? Should the animal rights activists be using the sexual objectification of women for their own benefit, effectively stamping all over feminist and women’s rights campaigners in the process? Continue reading

Welcome to Monday ~ 15 August 2011

What a week! This Welcome to Monday includes tampons, some potentially big changes in the comic book world, war heroines and of course the big one down under, Fred Nile being an idiot about the general awesomeness of Australian finance minister, Penny Wong.There’s so much news I’m minimised the commentary on them, which obviously took an unprecedented level of self-control. Enjoy the links, tell us what you think, and remember we aim to include an overview of feminist news this week; these articles do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the feminausts.

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Welcome to Monday ~ August 8th 2011

Welcome to the Monday round up, my fellow feminausts! I bring you a list of articles that caught our eye over the last week, from falsity in advertising to scientific proof that the clitoris is nice. Yes, its been a week of revelations here in the world of feminism.

As always, don’t shoot the messenger; we don’t necessarily agree or disagree with these articles, we’re just interested in the debate. If you violently agree or disagree, why not write a response and send it on in to us?

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