Tuesday, 28 June 2011

This is exactly what we marched about.

This is rape culture in action.

A few days ago, ACT on Campus Vice President Cameron Browne told a female commenter on a facebook thread to 'get raped' as some kind of answer to her comments.

He then proceeded to attempt to defend himself by claiming to have 'unreservedly apologised'  a few minutes later, a claim which (of course) has yet to be proven. As the WYFC has pointed out, this isn't the first time that ACT on Campus have made despicable comments about rape.

This is a perfect example of the fact that rape is a gendered crime*, one which is seen as a way of punishing women who do such hideous things as comment on a facebook post or wear a short skirt. Women in public spaces are treated as though they are somewhere they don't belong and that this should be pointed out to them, whether by talking over them, shouting abuse at them on the street or telling them to 'get raped.'

As far as I know only Heather Roy from the ACT party has responded to the issue:

As I said at my other blog, I think shrugging it off as not her responsibility is a little gutless. It’s good she doesn’t ‘condone’ it, but she should be condemning it. This is not only a member, but a member of the youth executive, and a representative of her party and she has a responsibility as an MP to respond when such a disgusting comment is made.

Violence, even when it's via a facebook comment, should never be used as a political tool and the use of it exclusively against a female commenter speaks volumes about the misogyny within ACT on Campus.

Be sure to let Mr Browne know your feelings about this via his twitter @cameronwbrowne** and the twitter hashtag #cameronbrowne.

*This is not to suggest that only women are raped, but that culturally rape is viewed as something which 'happens' to women who 'deserve it.'
**Be sure to include the 'w' because some poor dude called @cameronbrowne has been getting a lot of flak today.

Monday, 27 June 2011

Slutwalk Aotearoa 2011

So sorry for the loooong hiatus, I have been in the black exam lagoon for quite a while.

So on saturday, I went on the Auckland Slutwalk with about 400-odd other people, concurrently with another march in Wellington. I have a VERY loud chanting voice apparently, so I was belting it out near the front like I owned the place and a lady from Newstalk ZB (UGH I HATE THAT STATION) asked me to comment on why I was marching. I can't really remember what I said at all, but I remember panicking and wishing that I had this post from Scuba Nurse in front of me to quote from:

"...because I want to raise kids in a country where they do not have to drop rape charges just because they have had sex in the past, and their dating history is visible online. I want to raise my kids in a country where the first question the police ask is “are you ok?” not “did you fight back?” I want to hear that my kids can talk about their experiences of assault without the event being a mark on THIER reputation. I want victim blaming to STOP NOW."
It was an astounding day, and I spent the whole thing full to the brim with emotion. Most of the time it was glee that so many people had turned up to support such an important cause. Some of it was fury at the stories the speakers told, of the despicable way so many people have been treated for having the audacity to be assaulted. And some of it was awe and admiration at the strength of the people who had the courage to speak out about their experiences and call out the bullshit they (and the rest of us) have to deal with.

I know there are problems with Slutwalk, the biggest one being that there has been a rather conspicuous and unfortunate lack of participation by people of colour, for lots of good reasons, and a tendency to be erasing of trans and non-binary experiences. And of course, some people are very uncomfortable with the idea of reclaiming the word slut*. These problems were very briefly acknowledged at the rally, which I was glad about, though of course mentioning a problem ain't gonna solve it.

I very much hope that some form of Slutwalk continues to happen, every year (hell, once a month would be pretty awesome, but I don't think the frequenters of Queen Street would be very happy about it), hopefully in a way which is inclusive of all people** (I may be being naive, but I think we should try to address these concerns).

I wish I could have also been at the Welly one, perhaps with the assistance of a time machine/teleportation device, especially to see my babin' friend Coley speak (including this gem) and hang with several other awesome ladies who live in the capital. Our very own new women's rep Shona Jowett (who I'm hoping to introduce on here soon) also spoke!

And now, some more linky love for you:

And, because I am apparently vaguely narcissistic, here is a photo which really sums up my Slutwalk experience (and features my most epic double chin to date):

*Thanks very much to Octavia for generally being awesome, but also giving me lots of links to steal.
**Except for rapists, obviously.

Wednesday, 22 June 2011

Briefly interrupting exam-induced hiatus..

... for this nonsense.

I don't have time to have a nice long rant about it (GRRRRRRRR), but here are a few awesome posts which are already out there:

Also, if you head over to twitter, there are some pretty awesome tweets floating around, including this one, on the tags EMAgate and alasdairthompson.

Friday, 3 June 2011

Friday (well, it still is somewhere in the world) Round-Up

Apologies for the late round-up, I've been a bad blogger this week (on account of it being the last week of lectures - HELLS YEAH).

Are you sitting comfortably? 'Cause this is going to be MASSIVE.

A Round-Up of Round-Ups

First off, the only post you will need for months, the fabulous 37th Annual Down Under Feminist Carnival, which is essentially a HUGE linkfest of awesomeness, hosted by the wonderful Boganette.* Seriously, I went into little paroxysms of blogger delight at the sight of it, you absolutely must check it out.

Secondly, The Lady Garden has posted their own, slightly less epically proportioned, but still fantastic round-up here (which includes a link to an analysis of a Doctor Who episode, which is about the best thing ever).

The Hand Mirror have posted an excellent collection of links surrounding the Court of Appeal decision on abortion (YEEEEE HAAAAA)  which I was going to post on, but got distracted from by finally getting around to watching Skins.

And finally, some awesome stuff from Octavia's Spitfire Emporium.

On various fails this week

First of all, this great post from my gorgeous friend coleytangerina on the latest fail from Fairfax media about 'men' and 'fashion.'**

Similarly on The Lady Garden, a piece from Tallulah Spankhead (best name ever) on how saying that rape is in 'man's nature' is not only wrong, but a disservice to men.

Yesterday this story appeared on Jezebel, which made me so mad I nearly accidentally screamed out AAAAAAAACK in the middle of a lecture. Thankfully, award-winning author Diana Abu-Jaber has already responded brilliantly to V.S. Naipaul's total fail (and has subsequently been added to my reading list). 

Some other stuff

A great wee rant from Octavia Spitfire about white privilege and progressive politics.

A response from Boganette on the Rihanna video controversy.

An analysis of the coverage of Obama's visit to the UK from stargazer.

Hopefully that'll be enough material to keep you going, especially if you've got exams to procrastinate for.***

*Boganette has recently switched her blog over to wordpress, it's still at boganette.com, but if you've subscribed via google reader etc, you'll need to re-subscribe. 
**It's not such much about men or fashion, but more about sexist nonsense.
*** Young Labour Women does not in any way endorse procrastination, especially when it comes to exam revision. Unless you'd much rather be procrastinating, or there's something really good on telly. 

Saturday, 28 May 2011

I'm getting tired of this now, SST

Faifax seems intent on ruining my lunch breaks (curse working on sundays!)

This week's piece of nonsense is so underwhelming as to be almost comical.

The original story is here

And Boganette's excellent response is here

I'm expecting next week's story to be 'Auckland Woman Shocked to Discover Abortion is Like Actually a Real Thing.'

Wednesday, 25 May 2011

Friday Round-Up

On the Paul Quinn Fiasco

And some other stuff I liked:

A post from Tiger Beatdown on Stauss-Kahn.

Julie at THM on the ramifications of parental notification for teen abortions.

A great post from stargazer on prayer, Islam and the west and a really interesting article linked by her on Osama Bin Laden's death and the reaction to it.

A very profound post from Karnythia on her tumblr Esoterica on how abortion saved her life.

ANOTHER Tiger Beatdown post from Sady Doyle, because I LOVE her writing style (CAN YOU TELL?)

Monday, 23 May 2011

Awesome Read

Hey guys, check out this great post from Scuba Nurse at her fabulous blog (cross posted at THM):

The support we choose 
The case of children /young women using their school councillors as a resource to source options for an unwanted pregnancy has had a lot of time in the media. One of the trends in comments from pro-choice and pro “support in schools for all options” has been the concept that teens use the school because home is not a safe environment.
I balked at that, because my own experience of using school support networks was in preference to admitting to my parents that I was not coping. It was my first experience with depression and the first thing the councillor did was hold my hand while I called my mother and admitted I couldn’t do this alone...

Read the rest here.

Saturday, 21 May 2011

New Page: A note on gender inclusiveness

Some members of the feminist blogosphere have a tendency to speak about feminist issues in terms of women only. This is incorrect and is something we need to be aware of.

Using solely 'female' rems and pronouns to discuss things like reproductive rights is incredibly erasing of members of the trans*(see explanation below*) and non-binary community. Here's a quick 101 on cissexism and the trans* community.


'Cisgender' refers to people who describe themselves according to the traditional male/female gender binary and were assigned the correct gender at birth. Cisgender people can be gay, straight, bisexual, pansexual etc.


Transgender refers to those who were assigned an incorrect gender at birth, for example a MAAB (male assigned at birth) trans woman was assigned the male gender at birth, by virtue of having 'male' genitalia.


Non-binary or genderqueer refers to those who do not identify with the male/female binary at all. A set of pronouns has been developed so that non-binary folk can be referred to without the grammatical acrobatics involved in using words like 'them/their.'

Non-binary pronouns

Ze - in the place of he/she/him/her
Zir/Hir - in the place of his/her

These are also useful when you don't know the gender or pronouns applicable to someone, perhaps on a blog or forum.

If in doubt, the best thing to do is ask how someone prefers to be referred to.

Keeping all of this in mind, we must remember that trans* men and genderqueer folk can be pregnant, can have abortions, etc, wo we should be very careful to avoid using terminology which excludes and erases them.

*The asterix after 'trans*' ensures that all members of the community are included: transgender, transsexual, transvestite etc.


Being the sequel to this giant pile of journalistic excrement.

So it seems that the SST is going to continue to latch on to this story as if their lives depend on it.
There are already several awesome responses to this from the blogosphere, so make sure you check them out.

I thought I'd add my voice to the many.

What makes me so angry about this is that all of the so-called 'concerned' parents referenced in these stories have entirely missed the point of the law. This is yet  another example of a certain middle-class, privileged demographic forgetting that we don't all live in the land of magical unicorns, where little birds dress us and mice make our breakfast for us. Not everyone is privileged to have parents who apparently 'would have supported their daughters in their choices if only they'd known about it' (cissexist  language I know, but I doubt these parents would know that).

This law is designed to protect vulnerable young people who aren't so lucky.

My mother used to work as a social worker in an abortion clinic (oh! Woe is me! My daughter has no support! Except for the multitudes of professionals who are often there precisely to support her!) and she once worked with a 26-year-old student who was absolutely petrified that the male members of her family would discover she was pregnant and beat her up. And she was 26, imagine what it would have been like if she was 15.

This law, the law they want to mess with, saves lives. It is that important.

And part of me feels like screaming: "haven't we done this already?!" Haven't I been told all my life about the feminist struggle to gain even the compromised and limited reproductive rights we have now?

And briefly, on the whole 'getting a judge to sign off on your abortion' thing, I say BLARGHGARGH. If a counsellor, a GP and TWO consulting physicians have already signed off WHAT EXACTLY IS A JUDGE GOING TO ADD?!*

And** if a young person's not 'mature enough' to have an abortion without parental supervision, how ON EARTH can they be expected to cope with legal proceedings?

Let's not add to the already ludicrous levels of infantilisation which go on in this process.

A fifteen-year-old who is pregnant cannot be treated as if she simply has a broken arm or a chest infection. Until societal taboos and prejudices surrounding sex, sexuality and reproductive health are eliminated, it cannot be that simple.

*Excuse me, I was possessed by Feminist Hulk there for a second.
**I know, that's the third sentence in a row I've started with 'and.' Deal with it.