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 →
When feminaust co-founder isBambi and I were in Zurich earlier this year for International Women’s Summit and YWCA World Council we met an amazing young woman Sandra from YWCA of Egypt who spoke at one of the plenery events about the greatest challenges she saw the women of Egypt were facing, even since the revolution. Primarily she was concerned with the astronomical levels of street harassment that women face in Egypt, harassment that goes largely unreported and unpunished due to shame, fear and lack of political, judicial and police interest. She showed us a short clip for the film Cairo 678 and we were all struck by the feeling of utter helplessness of the women coupled with the brazen nonchalance of the perpetrators.
Street harassment in Egypt isn’t like that which we face in Australia. Here at home, my experience of street harassment is open, it’s men calling from their cars, honking their horns, yelling obscenities and reacting aggressively, but generally remotely, when my response isn’t positive. In Egypt, the street harassment is far more widespread but far more covert. It’s physical, it’s hidden, it’s not spoken of and it literally has the power to immobilise the women who experience it on a daily basis. The word harassment in my mind doesn’t even cover it, I believe it’s assault, in Australian legal terms it would be assault, it’s unwanted touching, groping, fondling and the women who experience it have little option but to move away or put up with it. Neither the law, society nor even their own families are interested in protecting them. Continue reading →
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 →
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
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.
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!
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 →
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.
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.
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?
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!