Shiny has deleted the content on her blog, but she gave me permission to repost her edition here so it has a home. This was originally posted on 3 July 2010.
Welcome to this, the 26th edition of the Down Under Feminists Carnival. I’ve dubbed this the leadership edition because the events of the past couple of weeks have put a woman in the top office in the Australian Parliament for the first time. It was an exciting week.
Gillard, leadership and politics
There have been posts all over the place on Gillard’s ascension, some like Deborah at In a Strange Land have just marked the occasion and reminded us to savor it. Lissy at Thinking About My Kink pointed out that it had only taken 116 years to finally get a female PM and outlined her own optimism and misgivings. Kitty tells us there was much rejoicing (and she bought her colleagues tasty treats to celebrate) at Something More Than Sides. Bek asked what do you have to do to be a feminist? at Bek’s blog. Spilt Milk thought of her daughter living the rest of her life having known a female PM in Oh Julia:
Today is for this: Quentin Bryce, our first female Govenor General, just swore in Julia Gillard, our first female Prime Minister. Not only did few expect this to happen today: few expected to see this happen this year, this decade – some, this lifetime.
Clem Bastow expressed similar thoughts at The Dawn Chorus. Myself, I was wanting to stop time, to step outside the news cycle and the approaching election, to appreciate that, as imperfect as the world still is, we have a female PM when I wrote Prime Minister Julia Gillard, and I confess writing it with a lump in my throat. I suspect there were more than a few tears shed watching those images on television, or streaming over the net, or in grainy screen captures on Twitter. Pissweak Parenting said in On their merit:
I was expecting to rejoice in seeing a woman make the job, I just wasn’t sure it would feel this good. It matters so much. Whether you agree with her policies or not. It matters that everyone sees a woman in the position. I want my kids to grow up with her presence in the role as a normality. That opens up their world.
Not everyone was weeping, though. I loved On a Cloudy Day’s description of catching the bus that morning, wanting to grab people and say “can you believe it?!” I felt much the same. News With Nipples declared her “deliberately barren womb of doom so proud” in Julia! and Hexpletive pointed out in central Sydney the chain of leadership was all female. Penguin Unearthed was worried Gillard had been handed a poisoned chalice. Blue Milk considered the implications of Gillard’s leadership for masculinity and The Ausmerican said Gillard had the chance to make up for Labor’s failures, if only she wouldn’t let us down. And while most of us were wishing the media would shut up about Gillard’s hair, Michelle at The Red Pill Survival Guide drew attention to it with pride in Julia Gillard, Prime Minister. Nic Heath talks about female leaders internationally at The Dawn Chorus with Women in Politics: Australia and the World.
Still Life With Cat posted this powerful shot of new Prime Minister Julia Gillard and Governor General Quentin Bryce. Linda Radfem was thinking of June 24 as a moment in history, reminding us that dates significant to women are too often forgotten:
Most of us in this country can recognise dates associated with white male supremacy, like January 26 and April 25 and Dec 25, but few could name the date on which women were first granted voting rights, or the exact date that marital rape was finally outlawed (in the 1980s!). These dates need to be taught in schools along with accounts of the activism that women undertook and the persecution they experienced to ensure that we have some basic human rights today. Those women copped a lot of shit for us and we are denied opportunities to remember them and honour them.
Trigger warning for abortion. Gillard aside, Senator Steve Fielding is still in the Australian Senate, for some reason, and News With Nipples discussed his failure to stop being a complete douchebag with regard to paid parental leave in Fielding shows his colours. Rayedish also had a post on Fielding at The Radical Radish asking if it was foolishness or misogyny. Chasing My Own Tail responded to Fielding with Ah, why bother getting angry? Meanwhile on Twitter, a meme was born.
We’re going to see sexism in the media in all its motley glory as Australia enters the next Federal election with a female PM. It’s already begun as Boganette pointed out on Twitter withthe hashtag #omfgdidyouknowjuliagillardisntmarried? Megandel79 pointed out that the media’s obsession with her marital status would be better focused on her denial of the same right to others:
It’s more important whether our PM might want to get married rather than her stance on denying the same rights to glbt (people).
Tigtog wrapped up the opeds the day after Gillard became PM and pointed out at Hoyden About Town that powerbrokers behind the scenes always guide leadership decisions, not just Labor ones. Meanwhile, at Musings of an Inappropriate Woman, Rachel Hills outlined what stories she wanted to see about Gillard’s leadership and how it came to be. Godard’s Letterboxes had an Open Letter to the Australian Media:
Secondly, let’s not be patronising. She may be “as intelligent as any man” but have you noticed what this implies? That men are more intelligent than women. She is as intelligent as anyone in politics is probably what was meant. Let us not be surprised that she is, or can be tough/uncompromising/intelligent/ruthless or any other characteristics which you in the media might have previously designated as being “men’s” characteristics. And if she is those things, let’s not say she is really like a man.
It was only a few days after Gillard became PM when notorious trollumnist Bettina Arndt went there. Yes, we all knew it was coming, but it doesn’t make it pleasant to hear her tell us how Gillard’s unwed, non-parent status “sets a bad example”. Michelle at the Red Pill Survival guide tore that to shreds in I’ve been wasting my life. At Nicopedia: bands, book & bits, Arndt is the target of ire as well as in Bettina’s breeding bullshit at News With Nipples. Mindy demands Arndt give us some credit at Hoyden About Town and Fuck Politeness has this take in Bettina Arndt strikes again:
Also according to Ms Arndt, those of us who didn’t marry (or didn’t stay married to) our childrens’ other parent, ‘drag’ our children through a ‘succession of chaotic blended families’. EXCUSE ME? That’s right, I said EXCUSE ME! You simply CANNOT generalise like that. Your bigotry is appalling.
Those of you in New Zealand have had a female PM for a while. You were the first nation to give women the vote too. So, Annee at Elsewomanasks why in its celebration of the past 50 years of television, Prime is erasing women’s movement protests with the conclusion that, no, we must have just imagined it. Meanwhile Steph at 天高皇企鹅远 has an analysis of hua mulan; or passing the Bechdel Test with only two women.
Elsewhere in the media, Boganette discovers that a woman’s sexual harrassment is reported as “She was too sexy for her shirts, so sexy it hurt – her career” in SIGH. Fat Heffalump tells Miranda Devine to Stop the “slut” talk:
And yet does Ms Devine challenge that cultural attitude? Not really, instead she suggests David Jones dump Miranda Kerr as their spokesmodel – so the young woman cops the punishment for the cultural pressures she is under.
Rachel Hills says why it’s worth talking about Frankie at Musings of an Inappropriate Woman, and raises the idea of 21st Century noise and what it means to Lady Gaga. On Twitter, Crazy Brave was asking Where are the Feminist Tweeters, and offered a substantial list of said tweeps. Also on Twitter, PharaohKatt was looking for music:
PharaohKatt: Am discovering more and more “progressive” songs that use ableist language to get across their point.
“We’re no[t] dumb and we’re not blind (we’re not blind)” – actually, some of us [are], but thanks for playing.
News With Nipples suggested publications stop offering a platform to victim blame and slut shame in Media oblivious to own role in problem. She also brought us one of the more WTF stories of the month, a case of the Don Juans.
Family and Women’s Work
Blue Milk fills us with hope when she says how “wildly sinful” Bettina Arndt makes her feel in Sex and the modern parent. SAHM Feminist tackled co-sleeping. In a Garden Somewhere has this to say in halfarsed feminism:
A truly feminist approach to the problem of patriarchy is to tackle the system itself. The fundamental problem is the fact that our social system is designed around the needs and priorities of men (not women, and certainly not children). Therefore, any real, lasting solution can only come from actually challenging the way that the social system is organised. The only lasting (and morally responsible) solution has to come from fundamentally reorganising society.
Spilt Milk brilliantly made clear that breastfeeding is a feminst issue. A Touch of the Crazy has what must be the billionth example of Mother hatred, when will it stop? Ariane’s little world reminds us of the ways everyone, children and adult, should have access to quiet and not so quiet spaces in competing needs. Also at Ariane’s little world, a touching post on Feminism, self-determination and peer pressure.
Rachel Hills at Musings of an Inappropriate Woman says everyone loves a fake lesbian:
It seems the only celebrities who aren’t engaging in a little public lesbianism are the ones who, you know, actually have sex with women. You and I may be bored to death of it, but as someone who works in media, I can tell you that faux-lesbianism is up there with sex tapes and Justin Bieber when it comes to guaranteed clicks.
Pickled Think (who wins my monthly award for best blog name) tackles a perfect storm of fat hate, heteronormativity and social commentary dressed up as science in There I fixed it for you: the you must hate yourself edition. Blue Milk analyses the misinformation and shame delivered to pregnant women in Compare and Contrast. Spilt Milk has a great post on Masterchef and selling shame.
Violence (Trigger warnings for discussions of rape.)
Also at Blue Milk, we are advised Don’t get raped (off the back of another Arndt fail, would you believe?) and while we’re talking about rape, Blue Milk also answers the question Why shouldn’t she take some responsibility too? At In a Garden Somewhere we had a great analysis of “responsibiliy” and the law in Taking responsibility. At Something More than Sides, Kitty has a powerful rant about boundaries with I don’t owe you anything.
Literature and Language
This month the sci fi community was rocked with the fall out from the compilation Giants and Superstars which included only one female author. One. Tansyrr disects it at Stitching words, one thread at a time in Giants and Superstars and Girlie Jones discusses how the tendency for issues of sexist bias to be ignored, in Why yes, we need to have this conversation AGAIN, and the way women are silenced forces us to have the same conversation again, again. Alisa Krasnostein has a guest post at Hoyden About Town on the Invisibility of Women in Science Fiction.
Pickled Think asks, Just how is a woman supposed to write? and says:
But this is the point. Every woman blogger writes whatever fucking way she likes. It is our prerogative to make our narrative heard in any which way we like. It’s up to you whether you like or dislike a woman’s writing (for whatever literary, political, or interest level reason). But no-one has the right to accuse a woman of “writing like a girl”, as if “writing like a girl” is some bad thing.
The Boganette shares with us the latest heteronormative trend for your *facepalm*ing pleasure, in You’d be surprised what counts as a trend these days. Deborah asks at The Hand Mirror What’s wrong with watching porn?
But then along comes a bishop with a vagina and everything gets topsy turvy. She’s not just a woman, she’s a bishop, yet the Archbishop of Canterbury will not let her wear her hat, or carry a big stick.