We need feminism because…

1 Apr

People can still sell their daughters to clear a debt.

Let’s play a substitution game!

23 Jan

We’re going to substitute the word “breastfeeding” for other words. Let’s see what happens!

“I’m sorry, you’ll have to leave because you’re breastfeeding.”

“I’m sorry, you’ll have to leave because you’re gay.”

“I’m sorry, you’ll have to leave because you’re Muslim.”

“I’m sorry, you’ll have to leave because you’re black.”

Well isn’t that interesting. They’re all discrimination.

Let’s try a more complex one:

For this example, we’ll substitute “Asian”.

For those who obviously didn’t see @sunriseon7 & are getting my comments 2nd & 3rd hand I did NOT say Asians shouldn’t be in public

Asians should be able to be in public. I have 2 Asian friends at the moment.

But I don’t think it’s unreasonable to expect being Asian in public is done discreetly. I think that’s just a common courtesy to others

Does anyone see a problem with this?

Breastfeeding is protected by law.

The Commonwealth Sex Discrimination Act 1984 – SECT 7AA states (emphasis not mine):

Discrimination on the ground of breastfeeding

(1)  For the purposes of this Act, a person (the discriminator ) discriminates against a woman (the aggrieved woman ) on the ground of the aggrieved woman’s breastfeeding if, by reason of:

(a)  the aggrieved woman’s breastfeeding; or

(b)  a characteristic that appertains generally to women who are breastfeeding; or

(c)  a characteristic that is generally imputed to women who are breastfeeding;

the discriminator treats the aggrieved woman less favourably than, in circumstances that are the same or are not materially different, the discriminator treats or would treat someone who is not breastfeeding.

(2)  For the purposes of this Act, a person (the discriminator ) discriminates against a woman (the aggrieved woman ) on the ground of the aggrieved woman’s breastfeeding if the discriminator imposes, or proposes to impose, a condition, requirement or practice that has, or is likely to have, the effect of disadvantaging women who are breastfeeding.

(3)  To avoid doubt, a reference in this Act to breastfeeding includes the act of expressing milk.

(4)  To avoid doubt, a reference in this Act to breastfeeding includes:

(a)  an act of breastfeeding; and

(b)  breastfeeding over a period of time.

(5)  This section has effect subject to sections 7B and 7D.

Victim blaming harms everyone

27 Sep

The current high profile missing persons case is causing quite a stir in the media (both mainstream and social). One of the common threads in the commentary is that it’s the victim’s fault she was targeted because she was walking home alone after dark, after drinking, wearing high heels, and while being an attractive woman. Let’s think back to the case of when a young man was targeted randomly after dark, which resulted in his death. How many people blamed the victim for being out after dark or after presumably drinking? I cannot recall any commentary to this effect. Rather, the commentary was resoundingly in condemnation of the attacker.

How do these cases differ? Firstly, there is a gender difference between the two victims. Secondly, the woman was targeted while alone, whereas the man was targeted while with friends. Thirdly, the woman was in her 20s, the man in his late teens. Fourthly, it is unknown what has happened to the woman*, while the man’s fate is clear. Both cases occurred on a Saturday: one in the early hours of the morning, one in the late hours of the evening. We know that the woman was attractive because the media continually tells us this was the case. The man’s attractiveness was never mentioned.

So is the victim of the current case being blamed because she is a woman, because she was alone or because, as an adult, she should have known better than to place herself in such a position, being that she is an attractive woman?

Why is the victim being blamed instead of the perpetrator?

This is a very interesting take on the matter. However, it doesn’t take into account that it’s rarely ever male victims that are blamed.

Women who are attacked, assaulted, raped and/or kidnapped are blamed for dressing immodestly, being under the influence of alcohol, dancing in a suggestive manner, being alone and therefore vulnerable, or leading men on simply by being attractive. Men who are attacked are simply in the wrong place at the wrong time. This mode of thinking positions women as victims and perpetuates the stereotype that men are incapable of controlling themselves when encountering an attractive woman. While society continues to blame women for crimes committed against them, it continues to treat all men as possible predators.

This is not fair on anyone.

So how do we stop the cycle?

  • Stop blaming the victim for the crime.
  • Stop asking what the victim was wearing or whether they are attractive.
  • Report on the facts instead of conjecture.
  • Stop assuming the perpetrator is male if the perpetrator’s gender is unknown.
  • Start putting sole responsibility on the perpetrator for their crimes.

Is this really so difficult?

 

*UPDATE: Tragically, the missing woman’s body was found in a shallow grave.

Mixed Messages

15 Sep

We tell our children about “private parts” to keep them safe. We say that if anyone touches their “private parts”, that they need to tell us, especially if the person doing the touching has said that it’s a secret. We tell them not to look at or touch anyone else’s “private parts” without consent.

And yet, these children grow up in a world where somebody’s “private parts” are made public, without consent, in order to sell magazines, newspapers, or advertising on websites.

Is it any wonder that people get confused?

When photos of naked or topless women (because let’s face it, it’s almost always women) are taken and published without consent, it informs us that woman’s body is public property. She effectively loses her bodily autonomy. When this happens again and again without recourse, it shows us that society condones the public ownership of women’s bodies and that these bodies can and should be used without consent. The implications for this are wide and far reaching. They range from a stranger rubbing a pregnant woman’s belly without a second thought, to the high prevalence of sexual assault and rape. It isn’t just women affected: my own husband was groped at a bar by a woman several years ago simply because he was there, buying himself a drink. The thought process is, if a body is public property, then surely it’s ok to touch it as we please, without the need for consent.

We prosecute and jail people who set up cameras in change rooms and yet somehow it’s fine for a photographer to take pictures of a topless woman (who happens to be some kind of celebrity), without consent, to sell to a magazine and for that magazine to publish them, again, without consent, simply because we feel we own this person. Our appetite for scandal is salacious and thus, we reward the media for invading the privacy of individuals by purchasing their magazines or clicking through to their websites to view these non-consensual photos.

We tell our children to keep their “private parts” private. Then we open a browser to ogle someone’s “private parts” made public.

These mixed messages are confusing and it’s high time that we had some consistency.

When some things are just too long for Twitter

15 Sep

When some things are just too long for Twitter, it’s time to start a blog.

This will be my place for sharing ideas and opinions that are off-topic on my professional sites and are too wordy for the 140 character constraints of Twitter. Expect rants and musings about creativity, education, feminism, parenting and social issues. If you like what you read, or even if you don’t agree with what I say, feel free to comment, but please be civil.

Welcome. Enjoy your stay.