Down Under Feminists’ Carnival LXVII

Welcome to Kiwiana (inked) and the 67th edition of the Down Under Feminist’s Carnival! Sorry it’s a little late, my laptop has not been cooperating this week.

There were some amazing posts this month; thank you so much to everyone who submitted, as well as all of the fantastic bloggers featured this month.

So, without further ado…


“Transgender Day of Remembrance” by nausea nissenbaum at The Hand Mirror

“Andrew Bolt: The “new racism” is so last season!” at Rantings of an Aboriginal Feminist

“On Who the Fuck is Iggy Azalea when she’s at home?” at The Koori Woman

“On My Life As a Statistic” at The Koori Woman

“Poor Fellow My Country” at Out Of The Shadows

“IndigenousX changed my life” at AboriginalOZ

“‘Free speech’ is no excuse for racist comments” at Daily Life

“When Aunty Dawn Daylight was a child she was kept as a slave at the All Hallows’ convent in Brisbane” at The Apple Core

“Kelly Briggs on the Race Conversation We Need to Have” at Hoyden About Town

“I get mail” at Gladly, the Cross-Eyed Bear

“Write it right” at News With Nipples

“How does a racist hide racism?” at Love Versus Goliath

“Intersectionality is NOT Fucking Divisive” at A Human Story

“‘Tough Love’ or ‘Zero Tolerance’ is not a valid social policy choice” at A Human Story


“In Defence of Selfies” at Gladly, the Cross-Eyed Bear

“Reflections of the Self” at Fat Heffalump

“Casual Misogyny on Top Gear” at A Life Unexamined

“Self Pleasure in Romance Novels” at Aggy’s World

“Whitewashing Katniss Everdeen” at WomyNews

“Fuck you, Louise Thompson: I AM FAT” at Ideologically Impure

“The Messages We Get” at BlueBec

“Good Lorde!” at No Award

“Clashing cultural analyses, and how we talk about Lorde’s “Royals”” at Zero At The Bone

“A woman is left for dead and the media are quiet” at Love versus Goliath

“The exploitation of ‘mystery woman'” at News With Nipples

“On strong female characters at the expense of women” at Zero At The Bone

Relationships, Parenting, and Families

“The most diabolical situation for a mother and a newborn you could imagine” at Sharpest Pencil

“Why losing my daughter means I don’t support Zoe’s law” at The Conversation

“There’s something missing from the Prime Minister’s Child Care Inquiry” at Daily Life

“Lisa Harnum: a powerful wake-up call” at The Hoopla

“Whose Equality? Anti-Discrimination in New South Wales Private Schools” at Global Comment

“Pink stinks” at Pondering Postfeminism

“Stranded in the shit field” at No Place For Sheep

“On infidelity” at No Place For Sheep

“Review: Amazing Babes by Eliza Sarlos and Grace Lee” at Blue Milk

“Forced removal of children. When will government learn?” at Curl

“Is the Queensland government man enough to really get ‘tough on crime’?” at Curl

Roast Busters

Note from MJ: there are a lot of valid reasons to refuse to use the term that a rape gang coined for themselves, and in my day-to-day discussions on this case, I agree. However, in the interests of practicality (and people being able to find this round up if they google “roast busters”, I’m labelling this section as such.

Ideologically Impure has a great roundup of roast busters-related recommended reading.

“Growing boys, not roast busters” by LudditeJourno at The Hand Mirror

“Memo from the blue gang: women aren’t citizens” at A Bee of a Certain Age

“There is a reason I was afraid to get drunk at rugby parties” by Marianne Elliott

“How could this happen?” by Scuba Nurse at The Hand Mirror

“The baying mob, or How I carry a torch” by Scuba Nurse at The Hand Mirror

“starting a conversation” by Stargazer at The Hand Mirror


“But what about the women in Afghanistan?!?” at Storify

“To Brodie Donegan, on the NSW foetal personhood bill” at Blogger on the Cast Iron Balcony

“A very important contribution to our current discussion of rape culture” at Ideologically Impure

“Look: It’s The Latest In Spring Anti-Rape Wear!” at Junkee

“An Initiate’s Guide to Map-less Spaces” at Widget

“Reproductive rights round-up: NSW, Vic, SA, Tas” at Hoyden About Town

“The problem with Sweden’s feminist film rating” at Daily Life

“Why, why, why, “vagina”?” at Rantings of an Aboriginal Feminist

“The Many Faces of Modern Feminism” at Sextracurricular Studies

“Let’s Change how we Talk about Sex!” at Sextracurricular Studies

And that’s it! Thanks again to all the fantastic bloggers featured, and to everyone who submitted. The next edition of the Down Under Feminists Carnival is planned for 5 January, 2014 and will be hosted by QoT at Ideologically Impure. Submissions to qotblog [at] gmail [dot] com for those who can’t access the blogcarnival submissions form.


Posted by on December 7, 2013 in Uncategorized


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Down Under Feminists’ Carnival LXVII Call for Submissions!


I am super, super excited to be hosting the December edition of the Down Under Feminists’ Carnival. You can submit using the blogcarnival submissions form, or email it to me directly at burningthescript [at] gmail [dot] com

Submissions must be of posts of feminist interest by writers from Australia and New Zealand that were published in November, and are due by December 2 so I can get the post up on December 5. I’d love to make this a HUGE carnival in time for everyone’s Christmas leave, so please, submit early and often, and spread the word!

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Posted by on November 5, 2013 in Uncategorized


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Misogyny is totes fine as long as it’s directed at someone MORE misogynistic!

I didn’t blog about Phil Goff’s sexist comments when all that was unfolding, because everyone else said it much better than I did—including my partner, who wrote directly to Phil Goff outlining why the comments were bad.

He got a response today. It’s not pretty.

Dear Joshua

Thank you for your email.

Chris Finlayson is one of the most vitriolic MPs in Parliament, repeatedly abusing others including his most recent attack on Dame Anne Salmond for daring to criticize the GCSB Bill. He had just finished personally attacking Annette King , who is a close personal friend as well as a colleague, as he has done on many previous occasions.

Chris Finlayson fits the description of misogynist which makes it fitting that he has been defeated on three occasions by Labour Parliamentarians who happen to be women.

I am disappointed that you fell for the National Party spin describing me as sexist when there is nothing in my record which sustains that.

Yours sincerely
Phil Goff MP
Mt Roskill

Oh boy, let’s unpack this one.

First of all, no one is denying that Chris Finlayson is vitriolic, and he may well be “one of the most vitriolic MPs in Parliament”. But here’s the thing: when members of the opposing party are making themselves look like idiots, the trick is not to sink to their level (you know the old chestnut: never argue with an idiot; they’ll drag you down to their level and beat you with experience). The trick is to rise above childish taunts and be the better person. The time for personal insults and mud-slinging was back in primary school.

Secondly, I’m confused as to why you think Chris Finlayson being a misogynist means that you yourself are somehow exempt from making misogynistic comments. The idea here is not to be slightly more respectful of women than the other guy. The baseline isn’t measured against others’ misogyny, it’s measured against how you treat and refer to male colleagues.

Thirdly, your statement “Finlayson fits the description of misogynist which makes it fitting that he has been defeated on three occasions by Labour Parliamentarians who happen to be women” would only make sense if you had made your comment in response to Chris Finlayson demeaning or otherwise disrespecting women as a gender. A fitting response to “women don’t make good MPs” might be “then explain why you’ve been beaten by two of them?” However, this was not the context your comment was made in; your comment was made in the context of losing elections, and the fact that Chris Finlayson has lost three of them. The comment could have stood on its own and your point would have been made—but instead, to make the comment more humiliating, you pointed out that his defeaters were women. The only reason to make that point is if you believe that being beaten by a woman is more embarrassing than being beaten by a man. You can say “Labour Parliamentarians who happen to be women” all you like two weeks after the fact, but that doesn’t change the fact that in the heat of the moment, you chose “you were beaten by a GIRL!” as your attack.

Here’s the thing, Phil. Your comment wasn’t “National spin” and, quite frankly, it’s insulting that you assume we all just read Twitter instead of watching Parliament TV and getting outraged all on our own. But instead of acknowledging that your statement might have been problematic, you’ve resorted to the childish argument of “but the other guy was worse!”, and it doesn’t make you look very good at all.


Posted by on August 26, 2013 in Politics


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Dear Google: “Rapist” is not a gendered term

Until 2005, our legal system stated that only women could be rape, and only men could rape. Thankfully, we have moved on from this archaic definition and acknowledged that rape is a traumatic experience no matter what gender you are. When we as a society say that men can’t be raped, or women cannot be perpetrators, we marginalise, shame, and oppress male victims, and victims of all genders who were raped by a woman.

Google doesn’t quite seem to have caught up with this concept yet.

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Posted by on August 23, 2013 in Rape/Sexual Assault


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No, seriously, please stop bringing up false accusations when we talk about rape

So, there’s a bit of a kerfuffle (trigger warning for victim blaming, rape apologism, ableism, and general fuckwittery if you choose to go to the link) going on over on the Frankie Magazine facebook page at the moment regarding the use of the term “eye-raping” in one of their articles. It started off pretty standard—someone brought it up, it got a lot of likes, the magazine posted a pretty gross fauxpology, people responded to that.

Earlier today, it probably had about a dozen comments. Then I went to take a nap and, while I was snoozing, it exploded into a messy, derailing attempt to fill the anti-feminist bingo card. But at some point in the middle of it, after I woke up and for some bizarre reason decided to give rational discussion a go (before I was told that I should go back to swinging my man decapitator, and that I keep my husband’s testicles locked up in the drawer by my bed), I ended up posting about why it’s fucked up to try and turn the focus onto false rape allegations when rape is being discussed. I’m posting it here for posterity, because it is an important discussion to have, but also because the way that thread is going I’m guessing it will soon be gone.

The reason people get pissed off when someone comes into a discussion about rape with “but some women lie about being raped!” is that it’s a very common derailing tactic. It’s not relevant to the discussion, it doesn’t add anything of value; all it does is shift the focus of conversation from the huge number of sexual assaults committed (seriously, one in four women, one in eight men, one in two trans* people, and 60-90% of people with disabilities is a huge frickin’ number), to a discussion of false rape reports that are very much in the minority. False rape reports occur at the same rate as other false reports, and that’s before you take into consideration that the vast majority of sexual assault goes unreported in the first place. And funnily enough, it doesn’t seem to happen with any other type of crime. When I’m talking about a string of burglaries in my neighbourhood, no one has ever chimed in with “well, you know, some people make a false burglary report to get insurance money”. When someone gets beaten up on Courtenay Place on a Saturday night, I’ve never seen a Stuff commenter talk about their “sister’s boyfriend’s cousin who pretended he’d been beaten up because he wanted to get back at his mate”. Yet, somehow, in every discussion about rape that takes place, people feel the need to bring up false rape reports as though they are somehow just as, or more, important than the fact that, if we look ONLY at the sexual assault cases reported to the police last year (remembering that anywhere from 40-90% of sexual assaults go unreported), then nine people a day were raped in New Zealand in the year ending June 2012.

I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve been told that false rape accusations are “the real issue here” when discussing the shockingly prevalent sexual assault rates we have in New Zealand. And I am all for discussing the issue of false rape accusations—as a separate issue to sexual assault. I’m all for it, as long as we’re discussing actual false rape accusations, not reports that are later retracted because the victim can’t face trial, or is pressured into recanting (by family, friends of their attacker, etc), or situations where it goes to trial and the accused is found not guilty.

But please, for the love of all that is good and holy, stop derailing discussions about rape and sexual assault with your “what about those bitches who cry rape and ruin men’s lives” bullshit. It’s not helpful, it’s not conducive to a reasonable discussion, and it makes you look like a giant jackass.

Unless, of course, that’s what you’re going for—in which case, carry on, you’re doing a great job.


Posted by on March 1, 2013 in Rape/Sexual Assault


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The Bystander Effect and Photojournalism

Trigger warning for violence on this post, including domestic violence.

Just before my nineteenth birthday, I got jumped by gang members.

This is simultaneously more and less thrilling than it sounds. I lived next door to a few of them; my only issue with them was the constant loud and late parties. But one Sunday afternoon they were itching for a fight, and I was the one with the shit luck of answering the door. I got dragged outside by my hair and as the kicking and punching sounded, my survival instincts kicked in, and I screamed my head off. I kept screaming as loudly and continuously as my lungs would let me; well aware that I was in a somewhat secluded courtyard and no one would be able to see me, but they might be able to hear me. My flatmates came to my rescue and got me back inside, although not before I’d lost most of my hair, and sustained two black eyes, a scratched cornea, a fractured cheekbone, and bruised ribs. I was lucky. It could have easily been so, so much worse.

The thing that still haunts me about the experience is not the beating itself. Those wounds heal, and the only real reminder I have of that now is the way I still tense up if someone touches my head. The thing I still think about is that there were two other flats on my property, with about fifteen residents between them. We were surrounded by houses. And not one person who didn’t live with me came over, or rang the police. If I’d been home alone, I could have been killed.

Just before Christmas my partner and I went outside around 11pm on a Saturday night for some fresh air, just because it was stifling hot in our apartment. We live in an apartment building in the middle of the Wellington CBD; what we gain in convenience, we lose in the noise of buses and drunk partygoers hollering outside our window in the wee small hours. Across the street, there were two men and a woman, and a lot of shouting. At first we thought it was probably just drunken loudness; it wasn’t until one of the guys began slamming the other into the window behind him that we realised it was nothing of the sort. I rang 111 while my partner grabbed a supermarket security guard, who went over to try and defuse the situation. Plenty of people walked past us both without even glancing over the road.

The Bystander Effect has been widely studied. In a nutshell, the more people who witness something, the less likely it is that any one of them will take action.

I’ve been thinking about this a lot today, because of a link that came up on my Facebook feed. There is a serious trigger warning for domestic violence on this, but if you have the spoons, this series, “Shane and Maggie”, is a series of images by photojournalist Sara Naomi Lewkowicz that depict an incident of domestic violence. In the photographer’s own words:

I had been photographing a couple, Shane and Maggie, since September. I had originally intended the story to center on their struggles trying to make ends meet, as Shane has a lengthy criminal record that has prevented him from obtaining steady employment. One night, Shane and Maggie got into a fight, and Shane began to physically abuse Maggie, slamming her up against walls and choking her in front of her two-year-old daughter, Memphis. He had taken our cellular phones, so I reached into his pocket and steal my phone back when he was distracted. I handed my phone to another adult who was in the house,and instructed them to call the police. I then continued to document the abuse. In that moment, my instincts as a photojournalist kicked in. I knew I had to stay with the story and document it in all of its ugly truth. I have continued to follow Maggie since the abuse, and am producing a multimedia piece as well as a still series.

There has long been discussion about photojournalists in war zones and areas of abject famine; photojournalists who have ended up taking their own lives, due in at least some part to the intense criticism levelled at them for taking images rather than helping. These criticisms are valid, but at the same time, I think I can understand why you would need to learn how to switch off your emotions somewhat if you were constantly faced with the worst of human suffering. I can empathise with that, even if I don’t agree with it.

Sara Naomi Lewkowicz is not in a war zone. She is not facing horrors most of us could hardly imagine and will never experience, day in and day out. She is a photographer who, when faced with a young woman being choked and beaten in front of her two-year-old daughter, did not freeze in fear. She had the presence of mind to steal back her cell phone—and then hand it to someone else to call the police so that she could continue to take photos of the event.

That is a conscious decision.

Can I say how I would have acted or reacted in the same situation? Probably not. Can I sympathise with a woman who is not prepared to throw herself into the middle of a violent situation? Fuck yes, I can. But the concept of someone standing there taking photos while a woman is choked and beaten, of letting a child stand there and watch this take place, makes me sick to my stomach.

If it was anyone but a photojournalist, there would be an uproar. If I witnessed an assault on the street and, instead of intervening or calling the police, whipped out my iPhone and got snap-happy, I would (rightly) be castigated for it. But because these pictures were taken by a photojournalist, instead, it is seen as perfectly acceptable to make a project out of it.

That shit just doesn’t fly with me, sorry.


Posted by on January 12, 2013 in Domestic violence, Media, Personal


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This won’t be very coherent, it’s been a fucking long week.

Last night, one of the SlutWalk Facebook pages posted this image [Consent is sexy, bro. You should ask first.] on their wall. Several people commented that they find the message “consent is sexy” to be problematic. Comments included:

  • To me, it’s mainly saying, ‘hey you’re sexy when you don’t rape me’. I don’t feel as though ‘not raping’ and ‘sexy’ should be conflated, ever.
  • Consent isn’t sexy, consent is something women should be able to take for granted as a baseline dynamic that goes without saying. […] The only reason it’s being framed as “sexy” is because we live in a rape culture that sexualises dominance and males who are out of control with their “desire”.
  • [S]uggesting ‘consent is sexy’ is like saying ‘hey when you ask for consent it’s sexy’. The opposite of asking for consent is rape. […] it seems to suggest we have to stroke the egos of males and show them how sexy they are when they don’t rape us.

This is the point at which a moderator commented, under the SlutWalk account, “Oh it’s troll Slutwalk night!”

I’m not naming the SlutWalk in question, both because I don’t think it serves any great purpose, and also because they have now deleted the post. I only screencapped up to my first comment, which read:

Uh,I also have significant issues with the “consent is sexy” message. Consent isn’t “sexy”, it’s a basic right and we are all entitled to give or withhold it without repurcussions.

Also, accusing anyone who doesn’t agree with a particular post of “trolling” makes me highly uncomfortable, personally. SlutWalk is no more a monolith than feminism is, and I’d like to think we can have respectful debates and discussions without being shut down — because surely we get enough of that elsewhere?

I want to be really clear here—I’m not trying to be a big meanie tattle-tale about this particular SlutWalk page, or whichever moderator was engaging with us. But I do think it’s really important to be aware of our accountability. Whether it’s as organisers of a large movement, or as feminists, or just as people who don’t want to be assholes, it’s really important to remember that no one is immune to fucking up. And if you really don’t know how you’ve fucked up, it is entirely possible to engage in respectful discussion without automatically defaulting to dismissing the arguments against you.

Because at the end of the day, the fact that you make a concentrated effort not to fuck up, and succeed 99% of the time, that doesn’t actually make it any less offensive that other 1% of the time. And a basic tenet of being a decent human being is holding yourself to the same accountability that you hold others to—recognising when you’ve upset people, intentionally or not, and taking steps to understand and rectify.

It’s not that hard, I promise.

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Posted by on December 14, 2012 in SlutWalk