Redefining Professionalism: bringing the post-patriarchy one step closer

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

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

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

Amy Van Den Berg ~ e-interview

Amy Van Den Berg

Name: Amy Van Den Berg

Date: 25/7/11

Title: Director, Melbourne Rainbow Grrls & Guys


How did you come across feminaust?

Feminaust contacted me via email asking if I would like to be interviewed. They had found one of my business cards at Hares and Hyenas, which is a gay book shop / café

What does feminism mean to you? Is it different from your mum’s?

For me feminism means a woman’s freedom to express herself without being bullied or stifled and her freedom to love what ever person she chooses as well as equal rights in the workplace.

To be honest, I don’t know what my mother’s view on feminism is, we have never talked about it. Continue reading

Empowering or Confusing? Voting at YWCA World Council 2011

A group of diverse workshoppers at the YWCA Australia delegation's session on Relationship Things

I’m sitting in the plenery room of the Kongress Haus in Zurich attending the final sessions of the World Council of the YWCA. The last three days have been a combination of official business sessions (presenting, debating and voting on resolutions, constitutional amendments and electing office bearers etc) and breakout and visioning sessions giving delegates opportunities to share and discuss programs, ideas and visions for the future of the YWCA movement.

I will talk about some of the aspects of the breakout and visioning sessions at another time, but now I want to consider the process of voting at YWCA World Council. Over the last two days a few aspects of voting at the council has concerned me. Most importantly the high number of abstentions that are taken from voting.

Continue reading

Welcome to Monday ~ 25 July 2011

Happy Monday dear feminausts! We’d like to take this chance to welcome Flora to the feminaust team! She has joined us to help with the ‘Welcome to Monday’ weekly round-up. How lucky you are!

So, without further ado, please see below to discover the feminist articles that have tickled our fancy this week. Enjoy! Continue reading

The 38th Down Under Feminists Carnival

In case you missed its launch on the 4th of July…. go here for the 38th Down Under Feminists Carnival!

The next edition of the Down Under Feminists Carnival is planned for 5 August, 2011 and will be hosted by Mim at Mim’s Muddle. Submissions to mimbles2 [at] gmail [dot] com. They’re having technical issues with the blogcarnival submissions form, so they’d rather you not submit there just now, but, if you do, they’ll pass them along to Mim.

Submissions must be of posts of feminist interest by writers from Australia and New Zealand that were published in July. Submissions are due on 2 August at the latest, but it’ll be easier on the charming hostess if you submit sooner rather than later. Don’t forget to spread the word among your networks! (From the Down Under Feminist’s Carnival website)

friday feminaust ~ Chelsea Lewis

Chelsea Lewis is our friday feminaust

What is my feminism?

I’ve always been an activist from leading a protest to the Headmaster’s office in grade four, to Amnesty and Clean Up Australia Day, and ten years volunteering for a queer community radio program, to being an ardent letter to the editor writer and talkback radio caller and the family member who is guaranteed to generate powerful dinner table discussion.

Looking back, I realise I have also always been a feminist but my feminism truly arrived along with the birth of my daughter and I learned a vocabulary for it when I began working at a women’s organisation. Continue reading

YWCA World Council ~ Waking up to your sexual and reproductive health and rights

(left to right): Billington; Betty Naomi Goldstein Friedan; Barbara Ireton; and Marguerite Rawalt

Today I had a sexual awakening. Don’t worry, the rest of this post won’t read like the lyrics to a Marvin Gaye song. I’m talking about waking up to the concept of SRHR – sexual and reproductive health and rights.

At the 2011 International Women’s Summit (IWS), much of the program is dedicated to the work being done by women around the world to combat HIV, and other issues related to SRHR. I was excited to hear the stories of these leaders (who are often women younger than I am), but I didn’t see SRHR as relevant to me. After all, way back when I had braces some awkward male teaching graduate in Reeboks showed me how to put a condom on a banana. Sexual education? Tick! But yesterday I attended the session on SRHR at the World YWCA’s Young Women’s Leadership Dialogue and the young woman facilitating the session started asking a lot of questions I couldn’t answer. Sure you know how to not catch an STI when you have sex, but what about your emotional health? You know you have the right to say no, but what about your right to privacy – who finds out about your sex life? We’ve all sat through lectures on the seemingly endless negative consequences of sexual activity (unwanted pregnancies, scarlet letters, hairy palms), but how old were you when someone first gave you a positive message about your sexuality? Has that ever happened?

Hmm. Perhaps more relevant than I had thought. Continue reading

Relational Feminism and Non State Torture: An Australian-Canadian Connection

Linda and Jeanne protesting against Non State Torture in January 2010

Linda MacDonald and Jeanne Sarson

Phone calls, emails, web links, SKYPE and written letters from mainly women, describe this Canadian-Australian connection which relates to voicing similar ordeals of non-state torture (NST) victimization. Professionals from both countries also consult us. They seek support for their work with women’s suffering due to NST victimization, which predominately begins in childhood and often continues into the adult years. Because this category of torturers, if possible, generally persist to harass, intimidate and assault the women they victimized as children.

Non-state versus State torture. Globally, human rights language distinguishes torture as being either non-state or State actor inflicted. State-actor torture refers to torture committed by a State, for example, torture that is perpetrated by government officials such as police, military personnel, or prison guards. It is generally referred to as torture that happens in the public sphere, in places such as prisons, police lock-up cells, in an embassy, or on military bases or posting in or outside a country. Conversely, non-state actor torture refers to torture committed by a spouse, by parent(s) and intergenerational family members, guardians, and like-minded others such as pedophiles, human traffickers or gangs, that occurs, for instance, in the private sphere of home, cottage, private buildings, warehouses, or in out-of-door spaces on farms.[1] Continue reading