Hello and welcome to the 63rd Down Under Feminists’ Carnival! For those not familiar with the concept, the blog carnival a monthly collection of blog posts of feminist interest from around New Zealand and Australia. Each month it is hosted by a different Down Under blogger, and obviously, this month it’s my turn (and privilege!).
This month, we laughed, we cried and we clenched our fists in rage…
(nb: most triggering posts have their own warnings when you click through)
July saw Kevin Rudd’s first full month back in the “top job” after he ousted Julia Gillard as Labor leader. Jennifer (No Place for Sheep) reflected on the sudden absence of gender-based dog whistling and Marie Bellino at Vibewire explored Australia’s problems with women in authority.
One of Kevin Rudd’s first priorities this month was to announce the infamous ‘PNG policy’. Kath at Fat Heffalump reflected on this Australian day of shame, while Jennifer at No Place For Sheep looked at how it had come to this, with our recent history of scapegoating asylum seekers, and wonders how we will measure whether the policy “works”.
Rudd also unveiled his new cabinet. Chrys (Gladly, the Cross-Eyed Bear) tried to reconcile her desire to vote for a party with a leader who supports same sex marriage with her concerns about Jacinta Collins, the new Minister for Mental Health and Ageing.
In New Zealand, welfare changes kicked in that saw full-time carers (particularly grandparents) forced to look for work or have their benefits cut. Ideologically Impure’s Queen of Thorns tells Diane Vivian ‘I told you so’ and generally reflects on the changes with sadness and anger, while Anne at The Hand Mirror laments their inherent lack of logic.
Because how we report things matters, Kim at the News With Nipples explored (again) the phenomenon of news outlets reporting male violence against women as if there was no one perpetrating it. Rape Crisis Dunedin also looked at the role the news media plays in shaping public attitudes to rape culture and sexual violence.
Speaking of getting things terribly wrong, Luddite Journo at the Hand Mirror warned that the recent NZ Glenn Inquiry fiasco might have made the world a less safe place for domestic violence survivors who participated in it.
Sharing their personal stories, Kath (Fat Heffalump) looked at who was perpetrating the violence and why we constantly make excuses for them (TW: physical and sexual violence) while Eliza (Fix It, Dear Henry) accidentally brought it scarily close to her own home.*
NAIDOC Week was this month, on 7-14 July. TheKooriWoman (@AboriginalOz Blog) took the opportunity to reflect on the Yirrkala Bark Petitions that led to the 1967 referendum (with a little help from Black Mad Men) but ultimately advised that Aboriginal Australia still does not have the constitutional recognition they deserve.
Speaking of not getting recognition, Liz at No Award is outraged that the Australian story of Indigenous girl group The Sapphires has somehow become the very white Chris O’Dowd Show in the film’s North American cover art.
TheKooriWoman also shared her first experience with racism on her own blog, which happened on an Australian bus. It brought to mind “those” recent YouTube diatribes, the culture behind which Fatima examined at This is Complicated this month.
In a bit of a ragtag category this month:
- Mel Campbell at Junkee questioned Cosmopolitan’s “Size Hero” campaign
- Jo (A Life Unexamined) found some Best & Less advertising that wasn’t awful
- Jennifer (No Place for Sheep) looked at that Rolling Stone cover and why we find it so confronting
- Celeste Liddle (Rantings of an Aboriginal Feminist) got fed up with the wall to wall coverage of the pending royal birth (and I chuckled)
- Chrys met columnist Catherine Deveny IRL (Gladly, the Cross-Eyed Bear)
- Deborah Mailman, one of Australia’s most prominent Aboriginal actresses, was celebrated by Orlando as Hoyden about Town’s “Friday Hoyden“.
I was extremely moved by Jennifer’s reflection on grief and the end of love (No Place for Sheep).
General feminism/social justice
Universities had some serious issues in July. UQ is fighting to save its gender studies major (Wom*news), while Rape Crisis Dunedin’s analysis of some recent “humour” in the University of Otago’s student publication proves why it’s still needed.
Queen of Thorns (Ideologically Impure) looked at why we lie to ourselves to make the world seem safer, and Rosie (Ro Bo Cup) looked at the specific lies that abound regarding the ‘false rape complainant‘.
Also in July, many worldwide were outraged by the acquittal of George Zimmerman, but A Tumbler of Armagnac further reminded us that this is not just something that happens in the US.
As always, our Down Under Feminists enjoyed putting intellectual things in front of their eyes during the month (and made me feel inadequate because I only finish books when my book club forces me to). Jo (A Life Unexamined) read Suniti Namjoshi’s The Fabulous Feminist, and Liz (No Award) read Australian sci fi “classic” The Sea and Summer.
July seemed like a geekier month than usual, if only because PAX Australia came to town. No Award presented a feminist perspective on the con; and bad things happened to women at this and other conventions that were reported on by Tigtog at Hoyden About Town.
Stephanie at No Award (it’s a new blog, please forgive the frequency with which it appears today) reflected on her experience as a young mixed-race Australian sci fi and fantasy fan and trying to find a space in today’s sci fi/fantasy world.
And finally Emma at Wom*news wrote a defence of Twilight fanfiction, explaining how the fanfic world adapts the troubling text into feminist ones.
Thank you to everyone who wrote, and to everyone who submitted! It’s been a pleasure!
*Eliza wanted me to change this sentence, as you can see from her comment below. I’m not going to revise it, but of course I did not mean to imply that she is at all to blame for her scary experience and I apologise for wording it such that it could be interpreted that way.
Up next: ‘We are careful’