When Is Consent Consensual 

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Informed Consent- Kevin Krejci https://www.flickr.com/photos/kevinkrejci

 

Consent: controversial, to put it simply. The intricacies of sex and gender are constantly deconstructed and reconstructed in feminist debate, with the main hub of discourse around consent. Consent around sex itself, specific sex acts, sex-work and pornography.

I think we can, by now, put a very basic blanket rule on sex itself: that informed consent between two adults is vital. Each and every time sex is had. Obviously couples develop their own language within which they give consent, but this does not exclude the necessity of the blanket rule.

However, if consent is seen in more particular contexts pornography, specific acts/genres of sex, sex-work, things stop being simple.  Continue reading

feminaust chats with Simone French and Cait Spiker of Hersteria –  the show that’s taking the Fringe Festival by flamingo-covered, pineapple-scented storm.

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1.  Tell us what your show is about. Did you draw on real life experiences?

Cait: The show is about the neuroses of women, and how we constantly compare, judge and compete with each other to feel better about ourselves. Sim came to me a few days before Fringe applications were due and said “I want to do a show with you, about us” and then we just went from there.

Sim: Originally we were going to examine female sexuality throughout the centuries, but then we started looking at our own experiences and drawing from the funny and ridiculous things we do and see around us…and we realised that this was far more exciting and relevant for us to explore. Even if people don’t relate to the show, at least we can say we were honest and called on our experiences. Continue reading

Brown: What White Feminists Need

Brown isn’t just a color. Brown, when used by a woman in the know i.e. a Brown woman, means belief, ideology, culture, norms, rules, self-concept. It means family ties knotted and entangled and complex; linked to rules and obligations and a hierarchy of nuanced mores, both spoken and unspoken. Some rules are so complex and long-held, they are absorbed, almost like osmosis, through the skin. And on reflection, there is little recollection of how they permeated the consciousness.

Brown means being vigilant about these convoluted rules guiding conduct, deportment (discrete, mannered, controlled), speech (again, discrete mannered, controlled) and even body language (yes, also discrete, mannered, controlled). A small example of one of the ‘rules’ I seemed to have absorbed was ‘small yourself‘. Nothing direct was taught or said, but I recall the first time I stretched in public outside of Pakistan. I was in Australia on some sidewalk in some town. And I felt the urge to stretch; I stretched long and wide, chest out, back arched. And I felt a thrill-like I was doing something illicit. It was then that I realized Brown women from the sub-continent do not stretch like that in public.

Rules extend to dress and around engaging with men and women at different ages in different spaces. There are obvious and implied rules around sexuality and how it is/isn’t expressed. Continue reading

It’s Still Here

I was in semi-wakefulness for most of my childhood and some of my adolescence. Vaguely aware that something was bothering me but lacking the understanding of what it was or the words to express the bother. Certain terms and behaviors triggered strong dissonance, but as an adolescent I was unable to articulate why.

I’d hear the word ‘slut’ or ‘girls can’t *insert random activity/ability/skill/function*’ or see gender-unequal systems (for example the school I went to had a desultory attitude toward girls sport) and feel annoyed. This was exacerbated by my observation that no one else appeared disturbed by those words, behaviors.

I gradually woke up; a conscious process of self-education, navigating gender politics, socio-cultural mores and religion. Now, more awake than I have ever been, I sometimes fall into the classic echo-chamber trap. Just because me and mine are awake, doesn’t mean everyone is.

I am not talking about sleep, obviously. I am talking about wakening to the patriarchal hold that can go so deep you don’t feel or see the hold. The hold becomes the ‘normal’. When you can feel it and see it, only then can you see what ‘normal’ should look like. And a lot of people, regardless of gender, still don’t. Still don’t feel it, see it or seem to want to wake up to it.

I had a conversation with an early-30’s Pakistani male yesterday (let’s call him Man-Child, for convenience). I know him, he wasn’t just some random male I accosted and forced into conversation, I promise. In that conversation Man-Child began to describe why he feels so strongly about his current girlfriend. In his words “she’s a really GOOD girl, man. I mean, good. No messing around and shit. I mean she drinks, but that’s ok. See, man, other girls here; wow! I mean, one girl I was into tried taking  me into a bathroom to *insert vague allusion to some sexual act * at a party. I mean, a party where her brother was! That shit cray-cray, man! Girls doing that stuff? So I know; I’ve got to keep this girl, this Good Girl.”

Now.

Let’s just pause and deconstruct this little speech. Continue reading

21st Century Motherhood Conference

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NEGOTIATING COMPETING DEMANDS:

8th International Biennial Conference

21ST CENTURY MOTHERHOOD

July 13th – 16th, 2016, Melbourne, Australia

RMIT University, City Campus

This conference will explore, examine, critique, theorise and respond to key issues

related to how mothers negotiate competing demands in the twenty first century. The

conference is grounded in feminist theory – particularly Adrienne Rich’s account of

Motherhood as Patriarchal Institution and Mothering as Practice – and will explore

the ways through which cultural understandings and social practices continue to

impact mothers’ lives. The competing demands that mothers negotiate include but are

not limited to paid work and professional pursuits, unpaid work (including care-
work), creative activities, sporting commitments, online endeavours, volunteerism,

religious involvement, and personal relationships. Specific attention will be paid to

the current trend of outsourcing mothering to paid-carers and/ or grandparents. How

women negotiate such competing demands alongside their mothering roles, and the

impacts of such negotiations on a mother’s sense of self will also be explored.

Submissions are welcome from, but not limited to, scholars, students, activists,

community workers, bloggers, mothers, and others who research, work or are

interested in this area of scholarly and social activism.

If you are interested in being considered as a presenter,

Please send a 200-word abstract and a 50-word bio by the 5th of February 2016

to amirci2016@gmail.com

AMIRCI 2016 CALL FOR PAPERS

Welcome to feminaust December 2015

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Well it has come and gone, another December, another festive season, another New Years Eve. I had a super quiet one. Just me, my mate John and seven dogs. It was great, although exhausting and a bit stinky.

Anyway, onto what we were loving in December:

Did you hear what the Federal Government did in that dead period between Chrissy and New Year? Yeh. They made us start paying for pap smears. Lets tell them our cervixs (cervi?) are not a revenue raising opportunity for them.

Autostraddle reviews 6 disability friendly sex toys. Continue reading

Welcome to feminaust November!

Well behaved women rarely make history

So I’m a slack arse and haven’t posted anything since…I don’t even want to comment.

But I’m making an early new years resolution to make more of an effort (and simultaneously preparing for the fact that as of next year I’ll be spending half my week at a beach house on my own with my puppy and therefore should have more time to do things like post to my poorly neglected website). BREATHE.

Anyway, this is what I noticed happening this past month.

Annie Leibovitz shot the 2016 Pirelli Calendar and it has hardly any visible boobs!

Target Australia has real human women in it’s summer catalogue!

The big wigs of world politics are meeting in Paris at the moment to debate the future of the planet. How does gender equality and women’s empowerment intersect with climate change?

The “Gender Fairy” a new chapter in gender inclusive education for kids.

Clementine Ford informed an employer that their employee used misogynist language towards her on Facebook and he lost his job. WIN

The Australian Senate is running an inquiry into the forced sterilisation of women with disabilities. 

This Is The Culture.

Faces PosterI was 14, I was trying to catch the train home – I’d been to friends place after school. I had to walk through a group of guys who were sitting in the way: sprawled across the stairs at the train station. I thought I heard them talking about me as I walked, saying “her?”, “yes”. A couple of them started to get up, and called out. I felt gripped with fear as I ran down the stairs. They chased me but were slightly behind me. The train pulled into the station at that moment and I jumped on it.The doors closed before anyone of them could get on. I have no idea what they were planning to do.

I was 16 I was catching the train home in my school uniform and a man sitting across from me leant forward so that the tip of his erect penis came out the bottom of his shorts.

I was walking down the street in my school uniform, when a car slowed down next to me, rolling along while the guy in the drivers seat asked me where I lived. I thought I was going to be abducted.

I was 18. Young. When I first started going out. I was kissing a guy at a club. I was walking out when my friend grabbed me and said “you’re not leaving with him, I know this guy. He wont care that you’re a virgin, he wont care if you sayno, he’ll have sex with you anyway.” The fact that this was a genuine concern… is an indication of the culture we live in. Continue reading

TINAtalks

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YWCA Victoria runs awesome community discussion panels and this time joining Clementine Ford for TINAtalks 2 will be Celeste Liddle (Indigenous activist, journalist, unionist), Dr Marguerite Evans-Galea (Neurogenetic disease specialist and co founder of Women in Science Australia) and Ellen Sandell MLA (State MP for Melbourne, Greens).

In Melbourne and want to know more? Check out their Facebook page and/or the event page! 

The feminaust month that was July!

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So this is what we were reading in July. Please let us know if you were reading anything different or better or enjoyed something we read!

Admittedly, July was more of a race month than a women’s month here in Australia. I was overseas at the end of July/beginning of August and I can’t begin to express my disappointment in so much of the rhetoric around Adam Goodes. But, I was also proud to see and hear some strength and leadership from a huge cross section of Australia supporting Goodes and telling the racists where they could put it. Thanks goes to you.

Right, links!

Feminist Academic Collective collated all their July articles here.

The International Association for Feminist Economics had their conference in July!

The 86th Down Under Feminist Carnival happened at A Bee of A Certain Age

Are you tuning in to Feminist Focus at 3CR? If not you should be. Thursday nights 6-6:30pm

And speaking of broads who broadcast, are you listening to The Downlow on 3RRR? Sunday afternoons 1pm-2pm.

And more feminist radio, here’s an online one for you Feminist Magazine.

Other people’s link love

Geek feminism had all the link love in July!    6th July  |  10th July  |  17th July  |             24th July  |  28th July

And the Rhodes Project (a new one for me). Also loves the links in July.

Lipmag loves linking us to the best.

AND in August, feminaust is turning 4!!!!!!!!!!!!! Join us for a party at LongPlay and an old school film about a strong laydee.