28 September 2014

On Women Against Feminism

The definition of privilege is thinking that something is not a problem because it hasn't been a problem for you personally. So outside of a Young Liberals meeting, it's hard to conceive of a more privileged bunch than the women on Twitter tweeting self righteously under the hashtag #WomenAgainstFeminism. Ask them why they feel they don't need feminism, and they'll tell you they are not victims. "I made choices in my career so I've not faced discrimination" "I haven't been harassed or assaulted" "Look at me not being oppressed by my husband". ME ME ME ME ME.



Well, okay. There's no law against being selfish - or illogical. A lot of them will tell you they are actually very much in favour of equal rights for women, but not feminism, because it's been hijacked by extremists. They ignore that the majority of feminists love men - their fathers and brothers and friends, and if hetero their partners - respect men, don't hate men, that we acknowledge the positive role of men in their lives whilst still striving to reddress the effects of milennia of gender inequality. These haven't just gone away. Ask one of the women against feminism if they believe women are paid less, suffer disproportionately from violence in relationships, are underrepresented in business, government and academia, struggle with reproductive choices, because they just aren't as good - and they fall strangely silent. It's not because of the patriarchy, mind. They want you to know there is no patriarchy.

They cite examples of feminist extremism, such as Andrea Dworkin, and want you to know they want no part of it. Well, you can call yourself whatever you like. But just as someone who asserted they believe in the divinity and resurrection of Jesus, believe in the Nicene creed, but because of the Westboro Baptist Church they are not a Christian would be met with snorts of derision, so it is here. If you believe in equal rights for women, you're a feminist. Don't be afraid. We're a broad church. Open to interpretation, sure. But the misinterpretation is pretty frustrating. How many times have we seen right wing women who relentlessly attack feminism turn around and demand to know where the "sisterhood" is when one of their own comes under attack for non-sexist reasons?

They post derisively about Emma Watson's speech on the harms of gender inequality, ignoring that the subsequent sexual attacks prove that misogyny is alive and well. See, here's the thing. You owe feminism. If you're a woman, you owe it your right to vote and theoretical equal pay in law and your right to legal assistance if the boss sticks his hand up your skirt, unwanted. But feminism doesn't owe you anything. Emma Watson was attacked in her speech for specifically referring to violence against girls and women, rather than violence against all people. Well, yes, violence is always a problem and men do suffer disproportionately from assault and murder. But they do not suffer from gendered violence the way women do. With one woman dying at the hands of her partner every week in Australia, I am - sorry - absolutely fucking sick of every conversation about violence against women turning into a discussion about men. Sorry, we do plenty when men are attacked. The entire city of Sydney goes into lock down at night because two young men died in acts of alcohol fuelled violence. Meanwhile women and children are dying at home, unseen and unheard, at the hands of men who were supposed to love and protect them. This is terrorism.

If women against feminism support equal rights, but not feminism itself because it has been "hijacked", absolutely the worst thing they can do is to align themselves with the misogynists and extremists who do believe that deep down, a woman's place is in the home and all women are dirty little sluts. Deriding feminism does nothing for equal rights. If you truly believe in equal rights, proudly call yourself a feminist. Reclaim the label instead of writing them off as extremists. If you think you're too moderate and balanced to be a feminist, be a moderate, balanced feminist. Stop thinking if you play nice with the boys, they'll let you into their club. Acknowledge we've got a long way to go, that's it's not all about you, and start looking for ways you can help.

07 September 2014

I'm Not Worried Abbott is Stupid. I'm Worried He's Not

9/7/13: Never Forget


One year today since the election of the Abbott government, and far from the soothsayers who assured us it wouldn't be as bad as we were fearing, the last twelve months have been a horror show of epic proportions beyond ideology, beyond necessity, beyond our worst nightmares.

And it's showing in the polls. Never have we seen a government so unpopular in it's first year. What particularly galls people, apart from the budget measures that take a harsh toll on the disadvantaged whilst continuing the free ride of miners and big business, is the lies. Having gone out of his way ahead of the election to assure voters, possibly unnecessarily, there'd be no harsh cuts, the cuts have come anyway; and whilst a few true believers defend the government on the basis that "Labor lied too" (so you're forgiving Labor then?), most are furious. One could imagine the government would be panicking. I don't think they're panicking. I think they're assured it's all going to plan.

Even if Abbott himself is showing worrying signs of some impairment of cognitive function as a possible remnant of his boxing days - the verbal and facial tics, the odd turns of phrase and pauses - there are some very smart people behind him, and this then seems to be there strategy. Lie and lie and lie and lie until we all just stop caring, stop noticing, stop paying attention, till we're too exhausted and numb to feel mild consternation let alone rage.

And then all they have to do is get involved in another costly pointless war that is none of our business, and go to the election presenting themselves as a war time government, strong on national security, and you don't change horses mid stream.

And Bill Shorten and Labor will let them.

I hope I'm wrong.

05 September 2014

What Good Can I Do Today?

For those who don't know, I'm pretty heavily into art journalling. I've been doing it for many years now, so although over that time I've spent hundreds and hundreds of dollars on supplies - often $5 worth at a time - it's a cheap hobby cause I'm already set up. I don't post my work though, except occasionally on Instagram, because 1. Without a scanner, I can only take lousy pictures on my camera phone, and 2. Despite years of practice, I've only progressed in skill from "terrible" to "mediocre:, and I'm intimidated by all the awesome work I see out there.

But I'm posting today, because I've had a revelation.



In a quest to go deeper with my journalling and get my life back on track, I read of how Benjamin Franklin scheduled his day. Every day, rising at 5am (not a habit I can get on board with, although sometimes with a toddler I've no choice - luckily Baby G is 3 now and usually sleeps till 7 or so), he would take time to contemplate the day ahead and ask himself what good can I do today?

It's a question I need to ask myself. Our lives are in a holding pattern at the moment. We're waiting on some money so we can pack up and move to Sydney. I'm on a semester break from university, so I don't feel I'm doing some good by working towards my goal of being a child protection worker and eventually, that PhD on how we can better work with teenagers who are being abused. I'd planned to volunteer for meals on wheels, but learning to drive is taking a bit longer than I'd planned. I'm not doing any other volunteering, I've had a few health issues recently and basically just being a big useless sack of crap. An angry sack.

Enough with the anger, it is time to focus on healing. I'm going to start every day by asking "what good can I do today?" and then doing it. It was Indigenous Literacy Day this week, so I donated what I was contemplating on spending on a takeaway lunch. I signed the Amnesty petition to free Peter Greste (I've sent an email previously). I resolved to let go of my petty annoyances with people and go with the flow.

Oh, I know it's not much. But nothing's much, if you look at it like that, and all the not muches surely will come to something, if I do it every day and others do it to (and I know an awful lot of people who are already doing wonderful things for the world every day). I'm planning to stick with this, and let's see where it goes.