Tag Archives: feminism

On What Feminism Means…

I talk a lot about the definition of feminism and I do it for a pretty good reason- I think that once you understand the definition, at it’s most basic, you see how it applies to you and how you apply it to the world around you.

I get so frustrated when people distance themselves from feminism or actively campaign against it. Feminism, as a word, has a definition. It seems ridiculous to reject feminism based on what some think it means as opposed to what it actually does mean- yet it happens all the time.

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Celebrity Non-Feminism

Big Bang Theory star Kaley Cuoco-Sweeting is making headlines after her recent interview on Red Book Magazine. The interview contained this question, asking if she, one of the highest paid women on US tv, considers herself a feminist.

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Carbon Tax Repealed…for Women

In a recent interview, Lisa Wilkinson asked Tony Abbott a brilliant question. She asked him to name his greatest contribution to women as the Minister for Women in 2014.

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Parenting Blog: You’re Doing it Wrong

It was with interest that I perused Mark Latham’s latest offering

“Mum Bloggers show dark side of feminist parenting”.

The title caught my eye, having just guest blogged about Parenting through a Feminist Lens myself, over at  a great parenting blog called The Multitasking Mummy. I wondered what possible dark side he could have imagined about parenting while keeping the mindset that women are, you know, human beings.

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You Are Not The Jerk Whisperer

Last week, I responded to a column written by former Labor leader and resplendent stay-at-home dad/gourmet cook/native gardener extraordinaire, Mark Latham.

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My response was one of many “left-feminist” perspectives roundly criticising his remarks. This one is a doozy.

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Latham Causes Eye-Roll Injuries Across Continent

Yesterday morning, I read Mark Latham’s latest offering in the Australian Financial Review. Ever since he famously called then PM John Howard an arselicker back in 2002 I’ve taken an interest in what he’s saying or doing. Primarily because he loves a good swear and speaks his mind- regardless of whether or not he should. I do that too, on occasion. That seems to be where the similarities end, thankfully.

Anyway, I caught the headline floating around in my twittersphere:

Why left feminists don’t like kids

And I couldn’t resist. I clicked the link and read on. Admittedly, my eyes rolled so far back in my head in places that I may have missed a line or two.

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I don’t even know what’s worse- Latham’s attempt at mansplaining feminism or his somewhat hysterical attempt to diminish a person because she takes medication.

For starters, this is the article he refers to, have a read if you haven’t seen it. Basically, the female author talks frankly about her anti-depressant medication. Now, anti-depressant medication is not something you put yourself on. A doctor prescribes it. They do so after diagnosing you with depression, right? Depression being a psychiatric condition. Lisa Pryor, the writer, mentions how well this medication has worked for her and how in being honest and open about it is not an endorsement of medication but rather:

“It is about the power of showing vulnerability, diagnosable or simply human, and how it makes others feel safe to do the same. I’d like to hope this helps build the kinds of connections that protect against psychological trouble in the first place.”

I quoted her directly there because I thought she put it so well- she exposes her vulnerability and humanity and hopes that in doing so, it may help others. It must have taken a lot to start doing that face-to-face, let alone in a national publication. Only to have Latham respond with the likes of this gem:

“At a personal level, it’s also cowardly: popping pills as an easy way out, instead of facing up to the responsibilities of adulthood.”

He  takes the liberty of stuffing words into her mouth to suit his agenda while he’s at it. Once a politician, eh? For example, he touches on her being a medical student while raising two children (My hat is off to you, Ms Pryor!) then ignores that and talks about her as if she is solely a stay at home mum who is complaining about her lot in life. He also asks:

“How will the children feel when they grow up and learn that they pushed their mother onto anti-depressants?”

Yet, no where does Ms Pryor state that her need for anti-depressant medication is the fault of her children. That’s a pretty big leap. A better question is now how will they feel  when they grow up and see that ex-politician Mark Latham has blamed them for their mother’s depression?

Personally, I think that acknowledging that you are depressed is a big thing in itself. Whether the help you need is medication or therapy of some sort- seeking that help is a big deal. I have known more than one person to suffer depression. I have suffered it myself at times. It’s bloody terrible and it’s really hard, if not impossible, to pull yourself out of it alone.

Lisa Pryor recognised the problem, got help and is now talking about it. She’s breaking down the stigma, she’s being human and vulnerable. And she’s doing it so that other people can talk about it too and maybe avoid depression in the first place. For this, Mark Latham is calling her a coward. When he got testicular cancer back in the 90’s, should he have just, what, toughed it out? Refused treatment in a show of idiotic “bravery”??

I have no idea if Lisa Pryor is a feminist. It wasn’t mentioned once in her article. But Latham has certainly taken the opportunity to blast us lefty feminists anyway.

He leveled a few other attacks I’d like to answer here.

” Why do people like this have children in the first place?”

Well, Mark, perhaps because people with conditions like depression are able to manage those conditions through appropriate therapies and it does not exclude them from being wonderful parents. That might be one reason why.

“Whether it’s my daughter’s smile, my eldest son’s Aussie irreverence or the belly laughter of my youngest son – these are my anti-depressants, every hour, every day. What is Pryor going on about?”

Lisa Pryor didn’t say her children don’t bring happiness. Not once. Depression isn’t as simple as being a bit sad. If your children’s smiles bring you happiness, that is wonderful. If you don’t require further treatment than that, you probably don’t suffer from depression  (I’m guessing, I’m no doctor). Latham may as well get upset when someone else needs a cold and flu tablet because his nose isn’t running- that’s how much sense his outrage makes.

This was my favourite assertion:

LEFT FEMINISM IS AKIN TO A PSYCHONEUROTIC DISORDER

Yup.

So, Merriam Webster’s defines a neurosis as something based on emotional conflict in which an impulse that has been blocked seeks expression in a disguised response or symptom.

So, the belief that women should have the same rights that men already have is essentially a mental illness. You don’t REALLY want that equality! Not REALLY! You think you want it but really you want something else because you have a disorder.

Confusing. Because mental health conditions require treatment, right? But, according to Latham, seeking treatment for a mental health condition is cowardly.

What a quandary.

Latham also takes the time to compare his stay at home dad lifestyle to Ms Pryor’s:

“I’m sure I’m just as busy as her: looking after a huge native garden at home, cooking gourmet meals for my family, pursuing a few business interests, writing books and The Australian Financial Review columns and, most crucially, preserving time for my children’s homework, conversation and love. When I explain this reality to my male friends, they are incredibly envious. Each of them wants to swap places.”

All that gardening and stuff is JUST LIKE full time medical school. He may as well be given an honorary medical degree for all those gourmet meals. In all seriousness though, he neglects to mention that he is able to live this lifestyle with the aid of a parliamentary pension (Some $200K per year) income while still earning additional income from his writing commitments etc- something most of us child-hating, lefty feminists just  don’t have the luxury of doing.

Latham then compares all women to those in Western Sydney and finds the rest lacking, because Western Sydney women don’t seem to suffer from Feminism. They don’t want to work and find joy in child rearing. Not like the rest of us child-hating lefties who only want to work and dislike all children but most especially our own, am I right? 

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Oh please. Feminists are everywhere, yes, even in Western Sydney, and many of us are doing our best to raise the next generation of feminists because frankly, the Mark Lathams of the world make achieving equality in my lifetime seem very unlikely. For the record:

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Look at me there, hating all my kids with my shriveled, feminist, pinko heart *rolling eyes as I type*

What did you think when you read his article?

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Because I’m a Feminist…

I got told to go and kill myself.

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I also got told I was a perfect example of why is was dangerous, foolish and a waste of resources to teach a girl to read and write.

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I was told that my definition of feminism was wrong (despite providing evidence), told I was a “fucking moron” and that I was “full of shit”. I was called an” imbecile”, patronised and called “princess”, told I was “dog shit stupid” and “only worthy of mocking and ridicule”.

Why? Because I questioned someone who said “Fuck Feminism”. I pointed out what feminism offers men. I asked if he really had a problem with women receiving the same rights and privileges that men already have. Honestly, I expected it to spur on a discussion about what feminism is perceived as vs what it actually is. But…It didn’t. This person was not someone I knew. This discussion took place on a friend’s wall and had been a lively chat until this guy came along. It was a bit sweary, sure, but generally a good-natured discussion. 

Being openly feminist meant, basically, that I copped a torrent of abuse from a stranger. My husband, who is never usually confrontational in the least, read the thread and waded in. He told this guy to back off. For his trouble, he was labelled a “eunuch” married to a “feminazi”.  This guy even tried to throw the Gender Pay Gap at me as a put down or insult ( I think?), which is one I hadn’t seen before. 

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Luckily, I’m reasonably thick-skinned when it comes to this stuff. This was not the first asshole with a keyboard that I had encountered. I even told him that. Usually I find them because I can’t help myself and read the damn comments. Or because some weirdo on twitter decides I need to hear his or her thoughts on something. The block button is pretty effective there. 

 My friend who’s page this took place on came back later and read all this garbage in appalled disbelief and told this guy, in no uncertain terms, that his behaviour wouldn’t be tolerated. Another guy who’d been part of the conversation earlier messaged me privately about it, assuring me, basically, that he didn’t agree with this guy and that he was being a “dick”.

This guy, who is a stranger to me, essentially abused me for being female and abused me for being a feminist. I don’t know what his aim was. If it was to convince me of male superiority as demonstrated by himself, it failed miserably. If he was trying to convince me that feminism was not required anymore, it backfired hugely. To be honest, he only convinced me of one thing and re-affirmed one other.

He convinced me, unequivocally, that he was a contemptible human being. He re-affirmed for me that some people feel safe in abusing strangers from behind the safety of a computer monitor.

For this, I can only offer one award:

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This garbage that I copped was from one sad individual and I’m far from the only one to have experienced this.Online trolls are real people- actual human beings- not bots or spam programs. And I’m sure they don’t speak to people face-to-face in the same way they do online. 

But that doesn’t make their words less real or somehow more acceptable and it certainly doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be called on it.

Have you ever been trolled? 

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I Pity the ‘Foo…

Have we all heard about poor old Redfoo? For those that don’t know, he was part of dance music group LMFAO, he’s on The X-Factor and has really big hair.

That pretty well sums up all I knew of him until this week when, in the wake of the Julien Blanc saga, he and his mates released a new song which was immediately dubbed the most sexist song of the year.

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I watched the clip here to see what all the fuss was about.

I have to say, at first, I was horrified. I mean, it would appear that a bunch of girls go to a party, refuse to drink alcohol (because literally, they can’t!) and dance and do “girl on girl” and get told to shut the fuck up. As the video progresses, Play-N-Skillz ft Redfoo, Lil Jon and Enertia McFly and the other party-goers surround this group of women and kinda force their dance moves on them. As each women succumbs to what can only be described as physical peer pressure, their clothing seems to shrink and appears smaller and tighter. Weird. It’s almost like when they succumb to the pressure to drink, dance and go girl-on-girl it makes them…sexier? At one point a woman or two ends up falling or being half-dragged or pushed into a wading pool,  and they spend some time gyrating around in the water with clothes falling off a bit while someone- possibly Redfoo himself?- appears to videoing them on a mobile phone and accessing a website called “Red Tube” (don’t Google that one at work- imagine a YouTube for…erm…adults) presumably to upload a video.

Then there are the lyrics. Here are some of Redfoo’s bits:

You got a big ol’ butt
I can tell by the way you’re walkin’
But you annoying me… ‘cause you’re talkin’ (STFU!)

and 

I said jump on the pole
I didn’t need your opinion
Gurrrrl I’m sippin’ on this drink
I’m tryna see what you got
Not tryna hear what you think

And the rest of the song is basically guys yelling at women to shut the fuck up when they don’t want to do something. It appears to be an exercise in pressuring women to conform to what these men want; wild girls who drink and perform sexual acts and dress revealingly but don’t express individual opinions or thoughts. So you can probably see why I felt the way I did when I watched it.

Thankfully, Redfoo jumped on twitter and cleared the WHOLE thing up.

See, we have it all wrong. We all purposely misinterpreted the clip and the song to support our agenda. You know, the whole rape culture, misogyny thing we’re all harping on about for no apparent reason.

We just jumped on this song and CHOSE to see it as a group of women being pressured to drink, dance and do “girl-on-girl” as if it were a party trick. It might seem as if it’s a group of men shouting at women to shut the fuck up when they aren’t compliant. It looks like women being forcefully sexualised. But really, Redfoo and Co are the victims here.

Oh! Well, that’s okay then!

He has great respect for women. It’s true, I mean, look at the “artwork” with his single “New Thang” (note the camera on his forehead):

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See? It’s SATIRE. If you’re offended it’s because you DON’T GET IT. It’s not because it’s offensive! At the time of writing this, over 16 thousand people have signed a petition to remove Redfoo as a judge on The X Factor. That’s over 16,000 people who don’t get it.

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Image Source Redfoo (above): a man of wit so subtle that more than 16,000 people don’t get the joke.

For those of us that just don’t get this particular brand of “satire”, you should check out this modified cover of “Literally I Can’t”. It was rewritten and performed by Melbourne art rock band, The Stiffys. Don’t let the band name put you off- this is LITERALLY  the best thing to come out of this debacle:

The petition to remove Redfoo from The X Factor was launched by Collective Shout, who campaign against the objectification and sexualisation of women and girls in media, advertising and popular culture. Here is what they had to say:

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He has since posted this fauxpology on Facebook:

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This song is meant to unite people through laughter, dance and celebration? Yeah, no. As a woman, I can categorically state that there is nothing unifying about being told to shut the fuck up. I listened to the song. I watched the video. I wasn’t laughing. It didn’t feel like a celebration. Like the women in the video, I didn’t want to dance, either. 

Obviously, it’s up to Channel 7 to decide whether or not they still want this guy on their show. I wonder if losing a job would push the point home?

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Have a laugh on me</div
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