Boys will be boys should be men

Eleanor Henry is a 22 year old law student from Melbourne who has just posted images on facebook to show the objectification women can be subjected to. The photos show a group chat she was “accidentally” added to, where fellow university students had referred to her as a ‘bike’ and encouraged one of them to pursue her with obscene tips like asking her for a picture to “show me where you piss from”.

And people still don’t get it. It’s not that they were talking about asking her out, it’s the derogatory way they described it.

Tell me that there is even a shred of respect or appreciating her as a person with those comments.

Enough of this ‘it’s just boys being boys’ crap. These boys need to grow the fuck up then because real men respect women. They see them as people and respect their sexuality. They do not treat them as sex objects. There is a difference and it’s about time boys understand what that nuanced but important distinction is!

Would the respectable men in your life ever speak about a woman in this way, even behind closed doors in the ‘men’s locker room’? I know all the men in my life and my friends’ husbands wouldn’t, and they are all very stereotypically ‘manly’ men. So don’t lump these sexist, misogynist boys into the same ‘boys club’ because you are doing the real men a disservice.

Read more >

Because we all know, don’t we, that women lie about rape.

Absolutely horrific and so so hard to read, but also so important to shed light on one of the many reasons why women ‘just don’t go to the cops straight after and get a rape kit’.

http://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/comment/the-story-of-louise-well-never-know-the-scale-of-the-rape-epidemic-in-sydney-20160221-gmzh62.html

One particular comment on the article articulates exactly where my frustrations lie:

Even in cases where a woman is gang-raped and beaten half to death, she still needs to defend her credibility. As though this is all just a bit of fun that got out of hand. And it’s no different in the courts. Cases abound where a perpetrator is convicted of assault and even grievous bodily harm, but acquitted of rape. In one quite famous Tasmanian case, the jury accepted that the perpetrator had fired a gun next to the victim’s head – there was incontrovertible evidence, after all, with a spent cartridge and a bullet hole – but STILL managed to conclude that the sex was consensual. Because apparently evidence that the perpetrator held the victim at gunpoint isn’t evidence that she didn’t consent.

Our system is grievously, grievously broken because it still appeals to the common knowledge of the totally uninformed. Because we all know, don’t we, that women lie about rape. – Lou

It is an absolute joke that Sydneysiders are punished with ridiculous lockout laws for a few dickheads who coward punch other men, but sexual assault and rape that us ‘feminazis’ have been screaming out about is something we ‘have to expect’ because we ‘acted/dressed/walked a certain way’. And God forbid anyone speaks up about it because they will then certainly be labelled a liar because ‘where’s the proof’?

Even after all this, it is still incredibly hard to get a rape conviction. Why?

Crimes against women never seem to get the same attention as crimes against men.

Look at the outrage and action from a few victims of cowards punches.

Yet women are being raped and killed in their own homes every week.

Victim blaming is still rife. – Steve

Instead of taking away the rights of the public, why aren’t we focussing on punishing the perpetrators of rape and assault? We created a specific sentencing for coward punches, but the justice system for rape, assault and domestic violence is still stuck in the dark ages where the victim (male, female or child) has to go through horrendous embarrassment (have you actually read about the rape kits? Would you want your rapist’s semen sitting in your body so tests can be run to prove you went through such an ordeal?) and relive the moment over and over in statements and in court with the likely outcome of their offenders not being prosecuted because of lack of evidence that it either happened or was consensual.

Our system is completely screwed when Luke Lazarus can anally rape a virgin but his sentence is overturned because of a technicality with the judge’s statement and so there could have been ‘reasonable belief’ that she consented to the sex. Even if she did consent initially, which is plausible, even if she then goes outside and goes ‘actually, I don’t think I’m up for anal as this is my first time’ (extremely plausible) there is no longer consent! Why are there not more processes put in place so these cases don’t become a he said/she said battle where the he always wins?

Why is the whole idea of women’s rights – to be equal to men, to be respected as much as men and to be supported by the government and society as much as men – so fricken hard for people to understand?

 

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Why I won’t jump for joy over Michelle Payne’s Melbourne Cup win.

It’s something I grapple with every time a female ‘wins’ in a male dominated sport or career. The thought that, while obviously this woman kicks arse, she’s beating the men but at their own game – by having to play how the men play. 

But is this the ultimate goal of feminism? To still measure performance by male metrics? Don’t we want women to win by playing the game how women want to play it?

This article is the best articulation I’ve read recently on that idea, that we shouldn’t just be striving for equality, but liberation.

Equality is a fundamentally conservative aim. Rather, it is liberation from a system that idolises money and power and demands women “act like men” to get ahead, that we should set our sights on.

Michelle Payne’s victory at yesterday’s Melbourne Cup… may indeed prove she is equal to the pinnacle of her male competitors, but it does very little to further the concept of liberation.

Now, the journalists main point is that the cruelty of the Melbourne Cup conflicts with her views of feminism because it “is inextricably tied to my passion for animal rights”. That whipping the horses and dominating them to perform to the jockey’s needs over their own is a violent activity linked with stereotypical views on male masculinity and dominance.  

So if a woman wins the Melbourne Cup, if she pushes her horse the hardest in training, whips it the hardest on the track, is that actually us winning the feminist battle? Surely reassessing the current practices of the sport with (again stereotypically) what’s seen as more feminine qualities like empathy and compassion, would see new practices being implemented that reduce the harm and violence towards the horses. 
I guess what it really does come down to is:

 In a world that consistently fails to recognise let alone reward us, should we celebrate every victory by a woman as a win for women?

Yes, there is something deliciously thrilling about a woman taking advantage of the spotlight to tell men off and proclaim that, “Women can do anything and we can beat the world.” 

But there is the contradiction. Perpetuating and celebrating violent spectacles like the Melbourne Cup isn’t beating the world; it’s joining it. And that is the difference between equality and liberation.

True liberation will be when typically feminine qualities are seen as strengths along with masculine ones; when a male can express empathy, openness, vulnerability and not be judged as weak; when domestic violence of any kind, both physical and mental is not tolerated to or by any gender; and when women succeed because they were themselves and didn’t have to ‘lean in’ and act like a man to succeed at what is still a man’s game. 

Read the article >

So I want to be liked, that doesn’t mean I’m bad at my job.

So so great, this is the problem with ‘The 9 Top Ways Women Give Away Their Power.’ and all those other articles about how women need to ‘lean in’, stop apologising, stop using passive words like ‘just’ (a word I use in probably almost every email, just to soften it):

See, the problem with these sorts of guidelines is the insistence that if women would just assimilate and act more like men, the entire mechanism of misogynistic bias against them would collapse.

Germaine Greer decried this type of feminism; the idea that freedom is found in mimicking men.

I’ve always found it interesting that the qualities that are supposed to make a good manager, qualities like empathy, are the ones that women naturally possess, but are told to tone down in the workplace.

Promotion of authentic power, the kind that doesn’t “leak” out of a woman means valuing not just quotas of women at top levels, but their own way of doing business, as well. In practical terms, this means not demonising a woman for wanting to be liked.

It means accepting that, when it comes to emails, the word “just” or the use of question marks or even an exclamation mark (or four) does not automatically denote powerlessness.

Argh I wish this post would go viral so that this kind of thinking would be encouraged at work.

Let’s stop telling women to modify their behaviour to “get ahead”. Because the quagmire is not with women’s behaviour at work, but the denial and repression of it. Excuse me, I was modifying my language. I meant to say that the way women do business, with humility, empathy and feelings, is already powerful, it’s just that most people are scared s–tless of it.

Read the full article >

Seven anti-feminist headlines you won’t believe were published.

This is brilliant! In this article Clem Bastow takes the stock-standard, idiotic anti-feminist responses to female writers and turns them into clickbait headlines!

She won me over with our mutual dislikes (I can already tell we’re going to be BFFs):

There are two things on the internet that make me descend into an apoplectic fury without fail: witless responses to feminist commentary, and clickbait headlines.

And then shines light on a truth that all female writers know to be true:

If you call yourself a feminist… a guy with a Lars Von Trier-related username will let you know exactly a) what he thinks and b) why you’re wrong.

And then drops in this absolute gem of a reference:

It’s such a widespread and depressingly common occurrence that in 2013, an ‘internet law’, Anita’s Irony, was stated: “Online discussion of sexism or misogyny quickly results in disproportionate displays of sexism and misogyny.”

And this then follows on to her reworking common responses to her feminist musings into clickbait. And my-oh-my would I click (fricken click-bait gets me every time). My favourites below, recognise any familiar sentiments you may have read or unfortunately experienced yourself?:

14 Great Egg Recipes That Celebrate The Anonymous Twitter Accounts That Called Me A Stupid Whore.

This Man’s Story About The Second Cousin Of A Friend Of His From College Will Change Everything You Thought You Knew About Intimate Partner Violence.

Violence Against Women Statistics Are No Match For This Link To A Niche Men’s Interest Blog That Features Animated GIFs Of Fire.

25 Ways In Which These Women Were Definitely Asking For It.

Here’s What Happens When A Dude With No Hobbies Is Given A Laptop And Wifi.

Why Is A Woman Who Claims To Be Single So Determined To Ignore This Unsolicited D–k Pic?

She Deleted His Defamatory Comment On Her Facebook Page, So He Surprised Her With A Fifteen-Message Screed. What Happened Next Will Amaze You.

The only thing I disagree with, and not that it’s explicitly written but implied due to the constant references to men, is that it is only men who write these witless and often aggressive responses. I’ve read some pretty disgusting comments directed to females by females, not to mention the number of female public figures that just say some honestly damn stupid crap that then reaches out to the masses.

Can’t we all just get along?

Read the full article >

Discussion leads to change.

When Emma Watson is tweeting your response to a Tumblr question about how ‘white feminism’ might exclude women of colour and non cis/queer women with the comment “This is called ‘hitting the nail on the head’.” you know you’ve made a pretty solid point.

Actress Rowan Blanchard is a 13-year-old actress from Disney’s Girl Meets World and makes some very excellent points on what equality actually means:

…With as many issues as feminists have succeeded in adopting, many of us seem to have not accepted the fact that police brutality and race issues are our issues too.

“White feminism” forgets all about intersectional feminism. The way a black woman experiences sexism and inequality is different from the way a white woman experiences sexism and inequality. Likewise with trans-women and Hispanic women.

The fact that when Amandla Stenberg wrote this beautiful and truthful piece she was automatically labeled the “angry black girl” says enough. We are so quick to applaud white women for commenting on race issues/discussions like #BlackLivesMatter, and #SayHerName, but when a black girl comments on it- she is told she is overreacting or being angry.

To only acknowledge feminism from a one sided view when the literal DEFINITION is the equality of the sexes is not feminism at all. We need to be talking about this more. Discussion leads to change. 

Read the full post on Rowan’s blog >

Like a girl.

So it was almost a year ago that this amazing advertising campaign hit our social media walls but as it has just recently won at Cannes I thought it was worth sharing again and seeing how the campaign has developed.

Definitely one to take over the Dove ‘Real Beauty’ campaign in the history books, ‘Always’ (P&G owned feminine hygiene brand in the US) uncovered in research that puberty is when a girls’ confidence begins to erode. They came up with the start of the #likeagirl campaign that breaks through unconscious gender bias and shows how an everyday term society just accepts, is a sexist and derogatory concept that’s placing limitations on young girls.

This one is the next social experiment in their campaign. While not quite as strong in terms of highlighting young girls’ perception of the world compared to older women, I’m still really excited as to where this is going and how it is influencing other brands to empower females.

Your voice, your body.

I love visual representations of equality. Photographer Liora K started the project, ‘Feminism’,  in 2012 to after she moved to a Republican state and wanted to speak out against legislation that was against women’s rights.

I wanted to create a body of share-able and instantly understandable work that people could connect with and use to continue to spread the word: ‘women’s rights are being sabotaged, but we are fighting back.’

I am a human first

birth control

promiscuity

Read more > 

Who run the world?

This article shows 20 images taken by a Berlin photographer of India’s ‘Kingdom of Girls’ – part of the Khasi culture of India’s Meghalaya state.

Families in Khasi culture are matrilineal: Children take their mother’s last name, the youngest daughter in the family gets the inheritance and men move into their mother-in-law’s home after marriage.

I decided to make a portrait series of the girls because I was so impressed by their self-assured appearance and thought that this must be how matriliny becomes visible. I also wanted to show the girls’ everyday physical environment — where they live, how they play.

Girl 2

girl 3

girl 4

girl 5

girl 6

Read more >

The rules of feminism and the fear of getting it wrong.

British journalist Polly Vernon’s new book Hot Feminist certainly raises the eyebrows with its title alone, but is not so much about being exclusive as inclusive, to those women who may think that just because they like pink, high heels and dresses means they can’t be taken seriously as a feminist.

It was getting to a point where it seemed like there had to be a feminist angle on absolutely everything and in quite a negative way. I think that was making people disconnect from feminism almost, because they felt it was prescriptive and narrow, that there were all these rules in place. I was talking to women in their late twenties who were feeling angry and tired and bored with it. It didn’t feel like this exciting, joyous, fun thing, which it really should be.

She explores in her book the though that traditional concepts of femininity and feminism are mutually exclusive.

I think it’s an inherently sexist idea. It amazes me that a man is allowed to be a very passionate football fan, that makes him more masculine and interesting and sexy. It doesn’t in any way detract from his intelligence, his work, his morals. Whereas if a woman cares about fashion or pop music, she’s assumed to be lesser, a bit daft, a bit shallow. It basically says the things girls and women like are stupid. That’s hugely sexist. Incredibly girly women can also be incredibly feminist.

I do think we have become increasingly hung up on the minor details, like whether your shoes are too high or your hair is too long. If you shave your legs, if you wax your bikini line, that in no way stops you being angry about the bigger issues of equality.

Feminism is about women earning the right to be as idiotic as men are, quite honestly. I do really silly, messy, immoral, ridiculous things all the time, but none of that means I don’t care about women having equal rights.

Read more >

Bitch better have my money.

Rhianna’s new film clip for Bitch Better Have My Money (better know as BBHMM) is graphic and disturbingly confrontational with its sexualised violence. But is it purely the content of the film clip that has people so riled up, or is it that a female could create such controversial content stylising violence against women?

The feminism of Rihanna, the feminism of black women in general, is consistently scrutinized and policed in a way it isn’t with white women. It’s important to be aware of that in any discussion about the video’s feminist merits or failings.

It’s the kind of video that, quite simply, would be lauded and never questioned if a white man (a man like Tarantino) made it. Does the discomfort some are feeling, the discomfort even I initially felt (and still do, faintly, with every rewatch), really have only to do with an aversion to violence? Or does it stem from this idea that a black woman could not only take ownership of this kind of stylized cinematic violence and rage, but also execute it in a way that rivals and challenges the mostly white men who are usually praised for it?

Read the article >

To all my Queens in the house.

So I saw Magic Mike XXL on the weekend and have been scouring the web (and by that I mean I clicked on the second page of google results) for a well constructed review of the feminist and racial undertones of the newest Magic Mike.

I struggled to find anything that articulates my thoughts on the movie in this context – that both celebrates it for its racial, age and ‘all body types’ inclusiveness with a focus on the deeper level of sexuality that many (not all) women need to be turned on,  but also acknowledges that it does feel a little superficial in its exploration; let’s go to a strip club that’s full of all African American women, and give lap dances to several overweight women (by hollywood standards), but ensure the main female love interest is a skinny white female (but having said that is bisexual in the film soooo again is inclusive, ugh I’m confused).

Some quotes from one review that stood out to me here:

I think it’s appalling that for a long time only women were objectified, but I think if we really want to advocate for equality, it’s important to even things out. Not objectify women less, but objectify men just as often as we objectify women. – Chris Pratt

No one does sex for women well — not in film and not on TV. Women are accustomed to seeing distorted images of themselves reflected back by way of the male gaze, but media that operates from the nexus of a woman’s desire is still so rare – Jill Soloway

You begin to see that “the female gaze” may not just consist of the camera panning down the male body, or putting women in traditionally male roles, but also about embracing aesthetic preferences that disrupt linear, conflict- and violence-ridden storytelling structures with lingering romantic awkwardness, offbeat humor, earnest themes, and occasionally fanciful song and dance routines that defy reality.

But hey, how much less realistic is solving a plot problem via choreography than solving one through blowing things up, after all, and walking away casually? The point is, the doorway is widening. And the more diverse ways we have of telling mainstream stories, the more likely audiences  will find something that speaks to them, irregardless of gender expression or identity.

I also aligned with some elements of this article in terms of encouraging men to watch these kind of videos to address the whole ‘teach men not to rape’ argument.

Too many men, I fear, do not know what the face of a joyfully turned-on woman looks like. Moreover, too many men do not care. “Smile,” they leer at her, as she walks by on the street. Not because she looks sad, but because she is not pretending to be happy. Because she is not outwardly focused on presenting an appealing facade.

Perhaps these men have been told, too many times over by too many movies, books, stories, rock songs, that their own desire is paramount, and that women are the ones who must strive to stroke, as it were, their egos. Perhaps they’ve been told that “sexy” is something women do at men and for men, but never for themselves.

I am tired, so tired, of the onus being put on rape and sexual assault victims and survivors to prevent their own abuse and harassment. I believe, as deeply as I believe anything, that the solution to rape culture is to teach men to treat women like people, and not only to value their enthusiastic consent but to derive their own incredible pleasure from it.

But I have (too) often wondered: How? How, when so many stories we tell about romance and sex fail to show this version of empathetic, differently empowered masculinity to the men who need to see it most. Magic Mike XXL is the narrative I’ve—we’ve—been looking for.

And in case you think I live under some sort of feminist rock, I of course read Roxanne Gay’s review and while a fabulous read (alert, spoilers!) I do still feel if we’re critically analysing the film, it was a little 101 (hello, Mike just happens to drop into conversation he believes God is a woman? Is this really necessary for the plot line or more likely a conveniently dropped in feminist stance to win over all the women in the audience [and it worked]?).

And just because it appeals to Roxanne (and myself, and millions of other women’s) ideas of sexuality, doesn’t mean it’s all encompassing for every woman’s desire or pleasure (and the movie doesn’t need to be condemned for this but it’s important this is acknowledged). Still, I for the most part agree with Roxanne, namely:

Jada Pinkett is flawless in this movie. She is utterly flawless and sexy and charismatic and I hope she gets the bigger roles she deserves.

And most certainly:

Rome warns the audience at the convention that women not on birth control should proceed to the nearest exit because some grown woman shit is about to go down. She ain’t never lied. Grown woman shit is exactly what goes down. I feel like I got a little bit pregnant (quadruplets, probably) from what happened next.

In summary, go watch. You’ll likely enjoy it (just don’t focus on the storyline too much, the gyrating and stimulated sex by Channing Tatum and Joe Manganiello to music like Nine Inch Nails ‘Animal’ makes up for it, I promise 😉

Calling male feminists.

In the words of Louise Brealey: ‘I’d like every man who doesn’t call himself a feminist to explain to the women in his life why he doesn’t believe in equality for women.’

Friend zoning is like a terrible thing. The idea of it is like a terrible male thing. Have you ever heard a girl say they’re in the friend zone? I definitely think the idea of the friend zone is just men going ‘this woman won’t have sex with me’. – Daniel Radcliffe

If you look up feminism in the dictionary it just means someone who believes that men and women have equal rights. I think the reason that so many people don’t clap is that word is so weirdly used in our culture now people think that feminist means like, some woman is gonna start yelling at me – Aziz Ansari

I feel like, whether it’s a woman or a man, that you don’t have to be defined by your gender. You can be whatever you want to be.You don’t have to fit into the boxes that someone might tell you you have to fit into. That’s what it [feminism] means to me. – Joseph Gordon-Levitt

And number 24. Dustin Hoffman. Read it now >

Apologies for my pregnancy #sorrynotsorry

Once again, our favourite Zoe Saldana is fighting the good fight in hollywood, this time, highlighting the inequality and discrimination against working mothers.

Let me tell you something, it will never be the right time for anybody in your life that you get pregnant. The productions I was slated to work on sort of had a panic. I heard through the grapevine there was even a conversation of me being written off of one of the projects. I was like, ‘Oh, my God, are you kidding me? It’s this bad?’ Right when I just feel super-duper happy, is that inconvenient for you? That me, as a woman in my thirties, I finally am in love and I am finally starting my life? And it’s (screwing) your schedule up? Really?

And then when trying to negotiate a nanny or childcare into her contract, she was met with more discrimination.

[Studio] spend more money sometimes ‘perking’ up male superstars in a movie, a really phat penthouse or them staying in a yacht instead of them staying on land.

But then a woman comes in going, ‘OK, I have a child. You’re taking me away from my home. You’re taking my children away from their home. And you’re going to make me work a lot more hours than I usually would if I was home. Therefore, I would have to pay for this nanny for more hours — so I kind of need that. And they go, ‘Nope, we don’t pay for nannies.’

While Saldana has the means in which to pay for her childcare, it is the principle that she wants highlighted. If a celebrity of her status can’t negotiate childcare into her contract, how on earth are any of the rest of us meant too?

This has been my issue for a long time. Until they find a way for men to incubate a child in their bodies for nine months, women are always going to get pregnant so let’s stop using that as justification of the gender pay gap and start providing more childcare options in and around the workplace.

Read more >

Swiftly apply water to burn.

Taylor Swift has called out UK’s ‘OK! Magazine’ after they tweeted the below misleading headline which clicked through to an article that was actually Taylor Swift posing with fans who were announcing their pregnancy.

Ok Magazine

As if that click-bait headline wasn’t enough, the article then referred to Swift twice as a man’s property – first as ‘Harry Styles’ ex-girlfriend’ and second as ‘Calvin Harris’ rumoured girlfriend’. She wasn’t referred to as a musician in her own right until after they discussed her love life.

Well, Taylor was quick to issue a burn of her own in true Taylor style:

Taylor Swift call out

@OK_Magazine this misleading headline and your choice of words in labelling me are why we need feminism in 2015.

BURN

Read the article >

Feminism in the age of Miley Cyrus.

An older article but still appropriately relevant and I thought worth highlighting a few choice quotes.

There is space for all women, for all identities, within the feminist movement. Fellow musician Amanda Palmer put it brilliantly when she said, in her own open letter,

“…there needs to be room on the vast playing field for Adele to wear a conservative suit, room for Lady Gaga to do naked performance art in the woods, room for PJ Harvey to wear high-collared 18th-century jackets on stage, room for Natasha Kahn to pose boldly naked on the cover of her last record, and room for Miley to rip a page out of stripper culture and run around like a maniac for however long she wants to.”

We are too complex to be placed into boxes. We understand that there is no right way to “do feminism.” We are allowed to pick on each other. We are allowed to question the ways that other women express themselves. But we are not allowed to disrespect them.

Miley’s feminism may not be yours, but it is one of ours. Feminism has changed. It is intersectional. We are people. We are women. Some of us want to beat the system, some of us want to change it, some of us want nothing to do with it, but the point of the women’s movement was to ensure that we have that choice.

Read the full article at Bustle >

Bikinis and power suits.

Jessica Alba ForbesTalk about girl power! Jessica Alba not only kicked butt on tv show ‘Dark Angel’ and movie ‘The Incredibles’, but she’s also kicking butt in the business world and has made it onto the cover of Forbes magazine.

Speaking at Forbes’ third annual Women’s Summit in New York – where female entrepreneurs and leaders work to change the power imbalance in the business world – Alba spoke of the challenges she face when launching The Honest Company, which sells a range of non-toxic household products and turned over $150 million in revenues last year.

People just saw me as this girl in a bikini in movies kicking butt — maybe not the brightest bulb… It took three and a half years of condescending nods and pats on the back of ‘good luck’, or ‘go back to endorsing things or go do a perfume.’

Well the jokes on them, after only 3 years The Honest Company is currently valued at US$1 billion.

Read more >

That’s Mr Saldana thank-you-very-much.

zoe saldana

Zoe Saldana has questioned the buzz surrounding her husband’s take up of her last name. Here is why, Mrs Saldana, your husband taking your last name is so damn newsworthy. Because:

63% of men would be upset if their wives kept their maiden names, and a whopping 96% of men wouldn’t take their wife’s last name

I would say being in the 4% makes your husband ‘newsworthy’ wouldn’t you? And for good reason. Because:

Many millennial women are changing their names not based on some ideological preference, but seemingly by default.

So many women I speak to respond to the question of taking their husband’s last name with ‘Why wouldn’t I?’ well here is a reason for you:

Changing a name is, in many ways, a change of identity. We associate our names with our heritage, family, childhood, career and even our personal brands. Switching over when we sign a marriage certificate is saying goodbye to one aspect of our life and adopting a new identity; in heterosexual marriages, that often means sharing one with a man.

I am glad Zoe Saldana, not that your husband taking your last name is something that’s newsworthy in the 21st Century, but I am glad given the huge number of men that refuse to even consider taking on their wife’s name that your husband’s choice and your empowering words may just start to affect change.

Men, you will not cease to exist by taking your partner’s surname. On the contrary – you’ll be remembered as a man who stood by change. I know our sons will respect and admire their father more because their father lead by example.

Gentlemen, I implore you to think outside the box- remove the box altogether. Let’s redefine masculinity. A real “man” leads alongside his partner. A real man accepts his mortality. A real man acknowledges that nothing can be done alone.”

Read more >

*2013 Women’s Health survey of Men’s Health’s male readers

Kiss my ass, you ignorant little jerks.

mark-ruffalo

Man-oh-man this is so brilliant. Mark Ruffalo has re-blogged a post on his blog which responds to to the frustrating “Women Against Feminism” Tumblr.

Check out his blog or read it below.

“My response to the “I am not a feminist” internet phenomenon….

First of all, it’s clear you don’t know what feminism is. But I’m not going to explain it to you. You can google it. To quote an old friend, “I’m not the feminist babysitter.”

But here is what I think you should know.

You’re insulting every woman who was forcibly restrained in a jail cell with a feeding tube down her throat for your right to vote, less than 100 years ago.

You’re degrading every woman who has accessed a rape crisis center, which wouldn’t exist without the feminist movement.

You’re undermining every woman who fought to make marital rape a crime (it was legal until 1993).

You’re spitting on the legacy of every woman who fought for women to be allowed to own property (1848). For the abolition of slavery and the rise of the labor union. For the right to divorce. For women to be allowed to have access to birth control (Comstock laws). For middle and upper class women to be allowed to work outside the home (poor women have always worked outside the home). To make domestic violence a crime in the US (It is very much legal in many parts of the world). To make workplace sexual harassment a crime.

In short, you know not what you speak of. You reap the rewards of these women’s sacrifices every day of your life. When you grin with your cutsey sign about how you’re not a feminist, you ignorantly spit on the sacred struggle of the past 200 years. You bite the hand that has fed you freedom, safety, and a voice.

In short, kiss my ass, you ignorant little jerks.

Thank you Mr Ruffalo *swoon*

I do not belong to anyone but myself.

ariana grande

In an open letter on Twitter and Instagram, Ariana Grande has written an epic response to the constant inquiry into her love life stating:

I’m tired of needing to be linked to a guy, I’m not Big Sean’s ex, I’m not Niall’s new possible girl. I’m Ariana Grande.

What I meant when I said what I said about not being Sean’s ex is that I am tired of living in a world where women are mostly referred to as a man’s past, present or future PROPERTY / POSSESSION. I… do not. belong. to anyone. but myself. and neither do you.

I have come to the realization that I have SO. MUCH. MORE. to talk about. I’m currently making the best music I’ve ever made in my life.

If a woman has a lot of sex (or any sex for that matter)… she’s a ‘slut.’ If a man has sex… HE’S. A. STUD. a BOSSSSS. a KING.

Echoing Taylor Swift’s thoughts on the sexist double standards:

I’m not allowed to date for excitement, or fun, or new experiences or learning lessons. I’m only allowed to date if it’s for a lasting, multiple-year relationship. Otherwise I’m a, quote, ‘serial dater’. Or, quote, ‘boy crazy’.

Here’s to women everywhere being their own, independent selves.

Read more here >

Ambivalently yours.

This is simply brilliant. Ambivalently yours is an annonymous blogger who creates artworks articulating the feelings many of us experience with reconcilling our feminism with our love of girly pink things. 

Here are some of my favourites.

 
  

  

  

  

   

  

  

  

  

Approaching sexism responsibly.

Thoroughly recommend watching this short TEDEd speech by gamer Lilian Chen on how she has addressed and raised awareness of sexism in gaming.

The entire panels point was to raise awareness [of sexism in the gaming community] in a way that did not shame male gamers.

As a woman, I was sexist; even mysogynistic, against my own gender. Sometimes when you’ve been immersed in an environment long enough it can be hard to differentiate between harmful behaviours and normal ones.

While some gamers are intentionally malicious, some may not realise they are perpetuating sexist behaviours in the first place. Empathising wi these gamers is more productive than outright dismissing them.

Please, leave the accusatory tone behind… People are willing to change and they want to help.

My silence only further enabled sexism within gaming… By being vocal, you force yourself and those around you to reevaluate their actions and perceptions.

Watch it here:

Women in comedy.

women in comedy

I don’t have much to say on this other than watch, just watch. You won’t regret it.

If you’re short on time, I recommend watching Lena Dunham and Tracee Ellis Ross.

Watch them here >

Chess Grandmaster responds to sexist comments.

A female chess legend takes down sexist remarks from Chess master Nigel Short who believes we should simply accept that men’s brains may be wired better for chess than women’s.

Read the take down here >

Two small steps for women and LGBT, two giant leaps for humanity (hopefully).

It’s been an exciting 24 hours in Australian politics with two movements for equality slowly starting to gain some traction for change:

  1. Joe Hockey (Federal Treasurer) has agreed to lobby the states and territories to make sanitary products exempt from GST thanks to an online petition with over 90,000 signatures (originally shared on this blog two and a half weeks ago at which time their were approximately 12,000 signatures). While this is a great first step in the right direction, historically similar past campaigns have not resulted in change. Let’s keep our fingers and toes crossed and keep sharing and encouraging sign ups to the petition here.
  2. Bill Shorten (Opposition Leader) has confirmed Labor will move a bill to legalise same-sex marriage next week after the Greens stated they would bring marriage equality up for debate in the Senate later this year.

Exciting times, it’s just about a decade late. Read more at ABC.net.au on the tampon tax and marriage equality.

Female celebrities speak out against hollywood sexism.

celebrity feminism

celebrity feminism

For a long time they thought the only things we were interested in seeing were romantic comedies. They don’t see us as a powerful force, which is an incredible ignorance.

View them all in DailyLife

‘Mad Men’-level sexism coming to an office near you.

mad men

This article dissects the sexism Peggy and Joan experience in the first episode of Mad Men’s last season and overlays a similar experience of the writer to highlight and explain the subtle sexism that goes on in offices still today. To the untrained these comments might seem throw-away and not inherently sexist, but to those on the receiving end the true meaning comes across loud and clear.

The slights are usually much subtler, the kind that are hard to explain to anyone who doesn’t inherently understand. The sexism appears in everyday conversation, like last season, when Pete said Peggy was “every bit as good as any woman in this business” — meaning she was participating in some women-only side competition in advertising, rather than competing with everyone in advertising.

By casting the nature of our confrontation as one in which he said something to hurt my feelings, he’s working behind the scenes to make me look emotional and sensitive. More “female.”

Read the full article here >

This tired, old victim blaming thing.

It is always disappointing when an opportunity to have a positive influence on how we perceive and condemn violence against women turns into another conversation of  how women are the ones that need to change their actions if they want to avoid being assaulted by men. This is what happened in a Q&A episode this week with a panel discussing Floyd Mayweather’s history of domestic violence.

When it comes to questioning the ways we talk about more complex forms of male violence against women, and the way our society responds to it, we just can’t get past the victim blaming mentality that accepts male violence against women as a ‘fact of life’ that women must navigate rather than society eradicate.

When a man is assaulted, men are not told to avoid walking the streets alone, because that would be ridiculous. Women, on the other hand, are consistently given this directive after violent incidents – even when the victim is attacked in broad daylight. It might not sound like “blame”, but implicitly, it is. It comes from the assumption that the streets are not women’s territory, and we don’t have the same right to walk them in safety as men do. We are expected to keep ourselves safe, because of an assumption that the dangers facing us are unavoidable except if we take extraordinary measures of our own to avoid them.

One of the best Twitter responses to the Q&A episode was Kon Karapanagiotidis:

Dear #qanda don’t discuss violence women ever again unless every sentence starts with either
“Men must
“Men’s behaviour
“Men need to change

Come on Q&A, do better.

Read the full article here >

Stop taxing my period.

CR_tampon_330pxX184px_v6This is something I’ve been frustrated about since its inception. The fact that pads and tampons incur GST, meanwhile condoms and lube are considered a health necessity and are GST free. Mmm…k, nothing sexist going on here.

I was so excited when I found out that student activist Subeta Vimalarajah has started a petition to remove the discriminatory tax from female necessities and I encourage everyone who believes in removing this unfair and discriminatory tax to sign.

The Australian Government taxes every menstruating Australian 10% every time we get our period. It is estimated that our periods earn the government a whopping $25 million each year.

Sign the petition and tell Mr Hockey loud and clear that a period is not a luxury or societal burden, it is an aspect of reproductive health.

Sign the petition >

You misunderstood, it’s a cape not a dress.

#ItWasNeverADress is part of a project launched at the Girls in Tech conference from software company Axosoft to encourage more women into the industry.

It Was Never a Dress is an invitation to shift perceptions and assumptions about women and the audacious, sensitive, and powerful gestures they make every single day.

“In science, technology, arts, mathematics, politics, houses of worship, on the streets, and in our homes, insightful women are often uninvited, overlooked, or just plain dismissed.

“Through storytelling, community building, innovation and creative disruptions, It Was Never a Dress will foster necessary conversations, vital voices, and images from around the world that honor ALL women.”

Read the full article here >

Young, drunk, and in a sketchy place late at night.

You have probably seen this one but in case you haven’t… An Argentinian woman who works at a bus terminal has had her Facebook post message against slut-shaming and rape culture go viral. The post is brilliant:

“Yesterday at the bus terminal at 6 a.m., there was a drunk man, and ten minutes later he fell into a deep sleep. He had oversized pants that left his underwear and half of his ass exposed.

In sum: young, drunk, late at night, in a sketchy place like the terminal and with his ass in the air… and not I, nor any of the women who passed by this spectacle, raped him or killed him.

You see guys — it’s not so hard, and that no matter how drunk one is or how one is dressed, it’s possible to respect the lives of others???”

“Both men and women should pay less attention to the clothes worn by girls and deal more with teaching boys of future generations to NOT violate, harass, stalk, and kill.”

Read the full article here >

If you want something done, give it to a busy person.

If you took out all the coffee runs, water cooler conversations and quick ‘personal admin’ tasks, how productive would you actually be?

A study by Ernst & Young has found women working part-time are the most productive in the workforce. Or rather, they waste the least amount of time at work of all workers, just 11.1 per cent compared to 14.5 per cent for the rest of the workforce. (Interestingly, they also wasted less time than their male part-time counterparts, who wasted 14.2 percent of their working time.)

Read the full article here >

Brazil’s street harassment map.

Juliana de Faria from Sao Paolo has started Chega de Fiu Fiu (“Enough with the Catcalls”), an online map which records women’s instances of verbal and physical assaults.

It is both a community where women can vent and support each other and also serves as documentary evidence that harassment is real, and it is as serious problem – not something women should just be expected to take as a ‘compliment’.

“It’s going to take some time until we change this behaviour for good,” Juliana said. “But street harassment is now being seen as assault – and that’s the beginning of real change.”

Read the full article here >

Don’t tell me there’s no such thing as the gender pay gap.

Sarah SilvermanSarah Silverman doesn’t find the gender pay gap funny. After doing a comedic set in the same show for the same amount of time as a fellow male comedian, he was paid six times more than her for the same job.

“I’m all for women having to work harder to prove themselves at this juncture, if that’s how it is in the world,” she says, “But if you work a job, and a man is working that same job, you should be getting paid the same.”

“It’s [women’s rights topics], that gets the most violent hate-tweets back… [It’s] so odd. [It’s] just bizarre. It creates such a rage in certain people, and of course that comes from fear.”

As highlighted in the article from Pedestrian TV, Australia’s current gender wage gap is at a 20-year high of 18.6%. Very disappointing Australia.

“I am not here for you, that is not what my existence is about.”

A video on an artist uncovering women’s thoughts on street harassment in New York city. Choice quotes below.

It’s an everyday thing…they’ll get mad if you don’t respond because you’re supposed to be so grateful. And if I pay attention to all of you I’m a whore, so what am I supposed to do?

The entitlement people feel, they feel you owe them something.

I am not here for you, that is not what my existence is about.

Watch the video here >

stoptellingwomentosmile.com

Abortion legislation. Because men should decide what happens to women’s bodies.

A rare mamamia article that actually makes some solid points on the situation where a Democratic Ohio State representative felt she had to share her own experiences of rape and subsequent abortion in order to counter the arguments to those proposing a new bill on abortions.

Because when it comes to women’s rights, women shouldn’t have to put their grief on display in order to be heard.

…it makes women’s participation in these debates conditional on their willingness to reveal sensitive information about themselves first.

…women who do not have, or are not prepared to share personal experiences, are instantly demoted or excluded from discussion.

…the act of disclosure acts as a double-bind, because as soon as a woman is done revealing an intimate aspect of her life, she is immediately at risk of being accused of being biased because of her personal connection to the issue.

…when women are expected to offer their personal narratives, they are often only seen and engaged with on an emotive level (as either a victim or a survivor), while the authority roles of expert and judge remain preserved for men.

The paradox here, is that this only enables men to continue to dominate the conversation, while women are kept on the sidelines.

Read the full article >

The motherhood penalty.

While some women certainly opt for more ‘family-family’ roles and hours, this social norm impacts those women who want to be the breadwinner and are committed to their career. Such a balenced, well-written article.

Both women and men still expect women to take on the lion’s share of care-giving when children are small, and to take on family-friendly work through the school years. Having fewer women in senior management reinforces the stereotype. Even when couples intend to share parenting, reality bites. Recovering from birth and breastfeeding keeps many women at home longer. There’s even less incentive to rush back to work if the male partner earns more money.

Changes in the corporate landscape have had little impact. Experts say there is an insidious bias against working mothers. “I hear lots of stories of people going on maternity leave and coming back to different roles that are less senior or with less scope.”

“We have a long tradition through the industrial relations system in Australia of protecting the male-breadwinner model,” she says. “That’s breaking down with the need for both parents to work, but we still haven’t fully come to terms with the fact that mothers are working, and how we should to respond to that.”

“…younger women to establish their careers first and have their babies second. “But the truth is, neither sequence is optimal and both involve trade-offs that men do not have to make.”

A senior manager at Origin Energy, with two young children says she has slipped behind her male peers even though she took less than 12 months’ leave and returned to work four days a week. “Motherhood is not a stamp that you’re stuck with,” she says. “The penalty comes when you choose not to go foot to foot with the hours and the travel and the commitment.”

Men who want time out to co-parent are met with raised eyebrows. “The situation traps men as much as it traps women,” says Feenstra. “Many more women in senior management roles would normalise the look of the workforce, which would then make it easier to have the conversation at home.”

“Companies assume that when a woman comes back to work, her commitment is to her family,” O’Reilly says. “But women say, ‘If I am going to come to work and leave my son at home then I want to do something meaningful and that will advance my career.’ It’s a really easy fix. You have to have communications both ways.”

“No one has the perfect solution,” says Marian Baird. “But if men take the same sort of family leave as women, we will see a change. We have to make men as ‘unreliable’ as women.”

Read the full article here >

This is one to share with the men in your lives.

That Guy Who Isn’t You‘ is the winning piece in a creative writing contest. It’s a bit of a read so some choice quotes are below.

Part that resonated most:

I am out dancing with my friends and men are imposing their way into our evening uninvited, and they don’t back off until we lie and say our boyfriends are coming, because they will respect an imaginary, made-up man before they respect us.

Key take out to share with your men:

You didn’t speak up. You minded your own business. You let it enter your mind that she deserved it. You looked at pictures not meant for your eyes. You believed him because he’s a nice guy. You looked away. You felt uncomfortable but not enough to say anything. You dismissed it as a joke. You ignored all of those times you saw things that you knew weren’t right and you didn’t make it your problem. Instead you made it mine, and you’re not listening to me now, you’re just waiting for your turn to talk – so yes, you are right it was not you.”

One call out – there is a section where it’s implied that prostitution is violence against woman. This mindset is not supported by Dirty words as feminism means supporting a woman’s right to make her own life choices. Apart from this, it’s worth a read.

Street harassment, it’s a compliment right?

A very sensible article on an issue that needs more prominence.

What happens to women on the streets is not seen as a critical issue – it is certainly not taken with the same level of seriousness as the safety of young men at risk of coward punches (where laws were changed, new terms coined). “Street harassment” is not even specifically referred to in the federal government’s much trumpeted national plan to reduce violence against women.

Read article >

Celebrity call outs on gender inequality.

Kristen Schaal

Kristen Schaal

A Daily Life gallery of celebrities using their star power to call out gender inequality.

Kristen Schaal’s quote is my favourite:

We’re going to print human hearts out of Xerox machines 30 years before women get pay equality. At this point, we’d be better off printing a 3D penis, slapping it on the bank counter, and saying ‘Hey society, f–k you, pay me!'”

Read article >

Can the privileged white women please stand up.

Everyone should be an advocate for equality, in all its forms. It should not just be left up to those discriminated against to be the ones to highlight injustice, and often when they do their situation is used to discredit the argument – “they’re too emotionally involved, they’re not being objective”.

Jane CaroIn this article for Debrief Daily, Jane Caro explains why she’s using her privileged white woman status to shed light on inequality and speak up for those, who due to circumstance, may not have a voice as loud and why she is urging others to do the same.

Read article >