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.


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

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).

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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

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 ~ 22nd August 2011

Welcome to Monday! Its been a busy week here at feminaust, with some very important debates about the basic tenet of feminism – respecting the unique experiences of all women and understanding them as valid. Sometimes its difficult and challenging, but darn its worth it. Have a quick read over the last few posts if you haven’t already, and I’d like to take this chance to thank becauseimawhore for writing her wonderful article for us.

But the time has come to share the love and take a look at some great writing from feminists around the world. So here’s what we’ve been reading this week. Unfortunately the list isn’t as extensive as normal due to my macbook dying in the arse at the age of 8 months. Regular service should be established next week (not for my mac, which will apparently take up to two months to fix). Sigh. Still enjoy the links, and remember none of these articles necessarily reflect the views of the feminausts!

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The need to bleed?

Menstruation is kinda cool in my opinion. It signifies a woman’s body’s readiness to provide a safe and supportive environment for a foetus. Many women celebrate its arrival, suffer elatedly through its pains and torments and relish the flow. Its failure to arrive can be a source of delight or horror, it can indicate malnutrition or a body that is incapable of carrying a child at that time. Its colour, odour and texture can indicate issues of concern within the reproductive organs. Its sudden arrival can create panic and mortification or hilarity. It is used as an excuse for bad behaviour and for staying home with the cats and a dvd and many things besides. But today, in the 21st century, is it necessary? Continue reading