Entries Tagged as 'Sisterhood is powerful'

Friday, December 23rd, 2011

I heart feminists on twitter – some Christmas dues

A lovely conversation on twitter has sparked me to dust off the old blog to talk about how twitter is a much more feminist friendly space than blogging ever was. It started when a Boring Man on an attachment parenting blog linked to a post of @bluemilk’s which suggested that given the massive demands that attachment parenting (AP) can place on women, it would be really helpful for AP types to have a bit of a think about engaging with feminist thought. The Boring Man thought this was scary, and it would send all the menz who were otherwise well disposed to AP to the fainting couch if some(woman) happened to mention that a bit of thinking might not go astray if they were going to suggest to their partner that this is how they would like to parent.

I started blogging in 2004, and it was entering the online space that persuaded me make my lifelong identification as feminist explicit, concrete and LOUD. I felt I needed to, because there was so much crap, misogyny, woman-ignoring and general bad form going on in the politics blogging scene which was where I first cut my chops.

I was brought up feminist, and didn’t really spend much time in “real life” around people who found the idea of women being strong, powerful, interesting and engaged a challenge. I was ignorant, I didn’t really know how much hate was still out there. It shocks me still.

I learnt fast. I learnt about my own massive blind spots. I needed to do a lot of listening about what it was like to live with race prejudice, with transgender prejudice and with ableism. (And later insert here – funny to speak of massive blinds spots and not mention any of the wonderful fat positive tweeters/bloggers whose insights help me every day). I will never be “finished” listening, but I’ve found it helpful to scope out the dimensions of my blind spots and I’ve found great joy in applying my attention and learning. In particular I pay respect to @iLauredhel and @TigTog, the first Hoydens, for making that learning accessible to so many of us.

I also pay respect to the literary critic feminists such as @adelaidebook for showing me the importance of patient and detailed analysis, the strength that it takes to keep going and the forebearance to front up for the eleventy millionth time to say “From your comment I can only conclude that you – and perhaps other male commenters here (at LP, for instance) – have not actually gone so far as to read the women’s comments in the thread. This is wrong and makes you look stupid.”.

I pay respect to @Lucytartan whose commitment to gentleness and whose suppleness of thought permeates all of her communication and has informed her valuable critiques of how feminists engage each other online, and has helped me start to imagine more clearly what a nonviolent world might be like.

I pay respect to @cristyclark who taught me a lot about gentleness in parenting, and what it looks like to live a life of principle.

I pay respect to @drnaomi, my first online feminist friend, for teaching me that solidity in ourselves is good for everyone around us.

I pay respect to @dogpossum, who has stood up to challenge her heart-community of dancers about sexism and has not backed down.

I pay respect to @bluemilk, for her curiosity, her energy and her sharp, sharp mind that is always bringing something new and valuable to my attention.

I pay respect to @herbalgill for her integrity, her humour and the way she wraps that biting wisdom with such kindness.

And I pay respect to my darling @tammois, for making me remember why it’s so fucking goddam important that we riot against what is wrong and insufferable.

And to all my other sisters – to @katejclifford, and to @anti_kate, and to @amandarose, and to @mindyhoyden – thank you. You are my sisters, and I love you. I love that together we are making a beautiful place where Australian feminists can talk, and snark and debate and speak the truths of our lives to each other.

So rare. So fine. (There are bits of this song we need to ignore for present purposes, but I welcome alternative songs that are more sister-focused. Send me the name and I’ll whack it in :) Also, volume up, it’s way soft.)

I am sure that I have omitted some names that should be here, and I would like y’all to please feel free to share some love and respect for our wonderful community.

… Only very slightly later!

Already I realise my omissions – I pay respect to @frala_fontaine who has shown me that we are mistresses of our own destiny, and to @bellsknits who has taught me what resilience looks like when you live it every day and to @charlotteshucks who sees that what makes us beautiful and powerful is also what makes us hilarious.

Expect more updates :)

Here’s another update

@kissability for reminding me that poetry makes our spirit strong and that there is unutterable beauty in our face every day if only we would see it, particularly when we are in the middle of a fucking fight.

But wait there’s moar!

I’ve just had a realisation sparked by a tweetversation with @ilauredhel that I have not included some of the fantastic fat positive women who have really helped me inhabit my large body –

I pay respect to @definatalie for her commitment to being brave and to speaking truth.

I pay respect to @awesomefrances for living yellow.

and some radfatty love has come in from the awesome @yayforhome. Respect to her to and her beloveds – @Fatheffalump and @mymilkspilt. Respect also to the beautiful #fattylove nominees from @definatalie @52stations @lillianbehrendt @afrotitty @shecametostay @allygarrett @polianarchy

Wednesday, June 30th, 2010

Where are all the feminist tweeters?

This post is prompted by two things. The first is a tweet by journalism lecturer and social media researcher Julie Posetti (@julie_posetti) asking where the women bloggers about Australian politics were hiding (hint:on the internet). Of course this brought back memories of the most spectacular recent version of this long lasting phenomenon, featuring Crikey’s Possum Commitatus, who blogs here.

The second thing is my great joy at the recent feministisation of my tweetstream. Because a lot of my tweetstream is food-related, I went off the whole “follow friday” thing because of its nauseating circularity. I’m over that because #feminstfriday has introduced me to some fantastic new writers, and some great conversations with writers whose blogs I already loved.

Here they are; please be aware quite a few of these accounts are locked, and you need to send a request to be able to see that person’s tweets. There are lots of good reasons why people might do that. Someone is more likely to let you see their tweets if you are known to them (online or otherwise) if you have a webpage linked from your twitter profile and if they can see you have nice manners – but then again they might not. Some people (like me) use TrueTwit to avoid spammers, which means you get a verification email before that person sees that you follow them.


This list is by no means exhaustive. Leave a comment about yourself or someone else who should be on the list, and I’ll update it.

Updated: and as hoped, the additions are coming in! Yay! If you’re on the list and you’d rather not to be, comment or email and I’ll remove you.

Sunday, September 21st, 2008

The Great Feminist Denial – more than just pole dancing and brazilians, although they do feature

MUP sent me a copy of The Great Feminist Denial, by Monica Dux and Zora Simic, which was nice of them. Here are some thoughts about it. I would have liked to been able spend more time thinking about it, but life intervened.

As a young woman, I would identify as a feminist if asked, but it wasn’t something that I foregrounded. I grew up in an explicitly feminist, activist and very middle class household, and so did my partner. I expected that I was entitled to be treated as a human being, and that I wouldn’t be passed over or denied opportunity because I’m female. What made me more strongly identify as feminist was getting older entering the workforce and learning a bit more about the world. Since I started blogging I’ve ramped up my feminist identification again after seeing misogyny and feminist-blaming in the blogosphere.

So I’m not the target market for this book, which attempts to pick apart why young women are so alienated from feminism.

The authors relied on an informal survey, which they say is not meant be scientific or statistically valid. But they don’t give us much information about it and it all ends up coming across a bit like a Cleo article. In fact, most of the first half of the book has that feel, leading me to wonder whether tighter editing could have woven the two author’s contributions together more seamlessly (and got rid of the typoes and a few other infelicities – for example talking about “‘control crying’ and ‘attachment mothering’” rather than “controlled crying” and “attachment parenting”. )

Dux and Simic say that the feminist that lives in the imaginations of young women as channelled through the mass media “is a feminist who hasn’t kept up with the times, an anachronism that overshadows the way women perceive contemporary feminism”, and that those negative stereotypes persist because there are so few positive images of feminists about. It’s a problem, but the answer can’t be this ahistorical rejection of an unpretty, serious and passionate form of feminism:

“While the ideas of the radical lesbian feminists might seem threatening to many, their power is largely illusory. Their influence on the feminist movement in Australia has been about as significant as that of an eccentric opposition backbencher in our federal parliament.”

Particularly when they have correctly identified the media’s tendency to discuss feminism without feminists, why are they doing this?

Grrr. And there’s a lot more grr in a long thread at the Hoydens’ in response to a recent op-ed in the Age by Monica Dux, including comment from Dux. The op-ed serves to highlight the book’s problems with tone and to show up how an ironic authorial voice only really works when your reader already knows what you mean and is inclined to agree with you. Irony is actually easier to use successfully in the context of blogging because bloggers are more enmeshed with their readers. Also we have smilies ;)

The authors point to lively feminism on the web and include a lengthy interview with tigtog and Lauredhel from Hoydens About Town. The interview is weirdly tacked on the end of a chapter in a grey box and not contextualised or developed. And why don’t they consider whether the online world might be a better vehicle to inform young women about feminism than a mass media that shown it doesn’t care to?

The tone of the second half of the book is more sober and analytical, and I found it much more persuasive. They canvas a number of media debates where strawfeminists have been invoked – in respect of single women, mothers in the paid workforce, raunch and the positioning of feminists as neglectful or uncaring of Muslim women by the “noisy sisterhood” of female MSM columnists such as the late Pamela Bone and Miranda Albrechtson. Angela Shanahan gets a thump too, which earnt my hearty approval.

These descriptive sections are fairly solid, but their attempts to reframe the debates seem underdone in the face of the relentless volume of their earlier material. For example in their discussion of mothers they suggest reframing the conversation as one about “rights” rather than “choices” but don’t acknowledge how rights discourse almost inevitably resolves into a contest of asserted rights. They claim that “choices made by labouring women are a little like confessions extracted under torture”. They ask whether the lower c-section rates and better perinatal mortality (I wonder whether it’s actually morbidity; no reference was cited) enjoyed by Dutch women are a result of robust health attributable to clog wearing. I know, I know, it’s a joke, but it’s not funny and it detracts from the seriousness of the argument.

See also a post by Helen from Cast Iron Balcony, who liked the book more than I did. I wish I had liked it more, but I think the problems with tone and clarity hobbled their attempt to persuasively address misrepresentations and misunderstandings of feminism.

Wednesday, November 22nd, 2006

Kicking myself

How did I manage to miss this?

Bettina Arndt talk

It promises an “entertaining after-dinner speech” in which Ms Arndt “will give some amusing insights into her early career as a sexologist and how this has given her a unique perspective on some of the social issues facing Australia today.”

And be careful of looking too closely at that that hairdo – Wiggity-wiggity-wack!, as Mel might say.

Bad Behavior has blocked 5186 access attempts in the last 7 days.

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