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the logo for the Down Under Feminists Carnival - the international symbol for 'female' with the Southern Cross in the centre

Hello and welcome to the forty-sixth edition of the Down Under Feminists Carnival! I last hosted DUFC #12, so I’m very pleased to have you back at my blog again after all this time. Sit back and enjoy this collection of Australian and New Zealand feminist writing from February.

Tackling homophobia and heteronormativity
There are two posts responding to the controversy surrounding actor Cynthia Nixon’s comments on choosing her sexual orientation. Falling into the choice/born this way trap simply plays up to homophobic ideas that queerness is something that needs to be explained in ways heterosexuality does not. V de Plume at The Observation Window has us covered with Being gay is not a choice, it’s a right and LudditeJourno at The Hand Mirror with Born choosing this way.
Who’s up for a rather thorough pop culture analysis? Here’s Even kitchenmaids get the blues: compulsory heterosexuality on Downton Abbey by Emily at Tiger Beatdown.

Fantastic fat
Don’t Panic Everyone, I already know, says tallulahspankhead of The Lady Garden, that she’s fat, and that there is totally one hundred per cent no stigma against fat people ever.
Kath at Fat Heffalump reports on Fa(t)shion February and all the wonders thereof.
Ariane at Ariane’s little world has an Open letter to “fat” kids. ‘Your body is beautiful and wonderful and powerful exactly as it is.’

On getting dressed
Michelle at Ravishing Retro is thinking on Vintage and Feminism. While ‘superficially “conservative”, the vintage community seems to have produced an unusually high number of kickass feminists, radicals and unorthodox thinkers.’
the news with nipples is Getting my phwoar on. ‘Because although we live in a highly sexualised culture, it isn’t very sexy.’
Next up is Bettina Arndt you’re busted! from The Sarah Monologues. Apparently it is super hard for men to deal with women exposing skin and women are so mean? Sarah sets things straight.

Feminist living
Being a conscious feminist can take a lot out of you. I think that an important part of doing feminist work is applying principles of compassion, love, and healing to oneself and how one tackles life, too.
Ju Transcendancing seems to think along similar lines, and you can read about her idea of having a yearly personal theme at The Conversationalist. Her 2012 is about Renewal, and I hope you find it as useful as I am.
Dunja Nedic of lip magazine writes love out loud: self-love valentine, because the relationships we have with ourselves are important.

Refiguring sexuality
Jo at A life unexamined ponders Being an Ace Feminist. It is seriously a useful read for feminists of all sexualities.
Rachel Hills writes Occupy Valentine’s Day: in praise of being single at Musings of an Inappropriate Woman. ‘Being single gave me a foundation: of friends, of genuine intimacies, of what I was passionate about. It meant that when I did end up in a relationship with someone I wanted to stay with, I knew what I wanted from life, and to choose someone who wanted basically the same things.’

Poetry…
Monkey Girl at Settle Petal wrote a poem called What is woman? ‘Is woman like darkness, non-existent in and of herself?’
brownflotsam shares Spoken words at contradictory multitudes. It’s a collection of performances of some pretty amazing poetry.

… and popular culture
There’s an interview with Stephanie Lai over at Silver Goggles on opening up steampunk beyond the Eurocentric, and what it has to offer in SE Asian and Australian settings! How exciting.
Megan Clement-Couzner interviews Maeve Marsden of Lady Sings it Better, an Australian queer feminist cabaret act who do their own takes on songs traditionally performed by men. Yep.
At 天高皇企鹅远, Stephanie writes a review of the Women of Letters book in the form of a letter, a most amusing use of the convention.
Shock: Researching Hatred Makes Me Angry, says Karen Healey. Karen’s put together some data on the disproportionate hatred directed at female authors. It’s not pretty.
At feminaust, Tara Cartland takes a second look at what the seeming emptiness of Lana Del Rey’s performance is really saying about how women and the feminine are figured. Read all about it in LDR: Loser Drama Romantic? enLightening Delicious Realist? Lana Del Rey.

Parenting…
Deborah at A Bee of a Certain Age writes Oh goody! Another breast vs bottle stoush. It’s time to get serious about the consequences of shaming parents around breastfeeding without providing the necessary support for it.
The Hand Mirror’s Julie has A response to the Can’t Feed Don’t Breed Brigade in no uncertain terms.
Emma shares Two parenting books I would recommend to pretty much anyone (including non-parents), ‘both well worth reading if you want to consider the emotions and implications of being a parent rather than just focus on getting your child to sleep’.

… and reproductive justice
It turns out that the NSW Anti-Discrimination Act ‘actually legitimises pregnancy discrimination in certain circumstances,’ says Bronwyn Batten at Settle Petal. A Pregnant Pause: the reality for pregnant women and discrimination.
Lauredhel of Hoyden About Town clues us in on The rise of fetal personhood notions in WA politics. ‘Western Australians with uteruses, and our allies, should be afraid – and angry.’

Thinking on identity
How do you turn the tables on assumptions that you are incapable based on your identity? Latifa at No More Training Wheels is Turning the Tables.
Here at Zero at the Bone, I, Chally, write Never forget where you came from. ‘Identity and vulnerable social positioning aren’t necessarily constant things.’ What happens to your relationships with the people in your groups once you move out of them?
In her capacity as a friday feminaust, Rachel Hills talks about her feminism, and how she came to be a feminist.
Megan Clement-Couzner at The Filing Cabinet is thinking about Dudes and sexual violence, asking ‘How do questions of consent/ assault and masculinity/ and of transmasculinity interrelate?’ It’s also worth reading Dudes and sexual violence, Part 2.

Governmental politics
NZ Green MP Mojo Mathers is being prevented from accessing parliament because Speaker Lockwood Smith reckons the government shouldn’t have to fund an electronic note-taker. Defending the kyriarchy much? Deborah at A Bee of a Certain Age suggests that maybe silencing deaf people is not the best move.
It’s just the tiniest bit weird and gendered when the media sets up Gillard vs Rudd as some kind of lovers tiff. Says Helen, Blogger on The Cast Iron Balcony, There is something to see here, and we’re not moving along. blue milk widens the scope on the use of misogyny against Gillard in About #ditchthewitch. And Emma Koehn at lip magazine has media round up: sexism and our politics, which addresses the various shades of misogyny Julia Gillard has been facing.
Dunja Nedic writes Open Letter to the Liberal Party: Six Reasons I will never support Tony Abbott over at lip magazine. Mmhmmmm.
Qot of Ideologically Impure shares One white girl’s random thoughts on Waitangi Day.

Organising
The University of Queensland’s Women’s Collective released the third issue of their zine, Wom*news. Yay! I particularly liked ‘“Why Didn’t You Just Punch Him?” Thinking about sexual harassment and women’s passivity’.
Following on from the fortieth anniversary of the Tent Embassy in Canberra, in Polite protest, brownflotsam has thoughts on how protest is understood, especially in the mainstream. ‘When a group of people privilege one form of protest over another, they are revealing their own prejudices, not saying anything about the protest.’
Auckland Feminist Action launched a campaign against the sexist Tui ads, and Leonie Morris in particular has met with some hateful responses. Abuse is not an argument, says Julie at The Hand Mirror. ‘What kind of society are we living in where even raising concerns about some advertising, requesting that people think critically about the media they are consuming, gets you scragged across talkback and blogs and even motivates people to ring your place of employment to tell you off?’
stargazer has a lovely post called food as metaphor. It’s on an interfaith forum she’s organising, and a wonderful reflection on mutual respect and solidarity.

What are women good for?
a working woman is not just a working uterus on leave, says Zoya Patel of lip magazine, and women’s bodies aren’t public property.
Ms Elouise of feminaust is sick and tired of mean remarks about women’s clothes. She’s Criticising Women for Criticising Women: Clothing Choices.
Kath at Fat Heffalump talks about Rage Against Injustice, on women’s anger, and how people figure and direct rage.
Rebecca at bluebec.com writes My favourite Goodie (my geek role models), discussing the impact of the lack of female geek role models in her childhood.
Reclaiming nurturing, creating, and the feminine: I write about what devaluing the things traditionally associated with women as silly entails for women.

Things that made me frown
Oh dear, it’s a long list. anthea at The Hand Mirror has a list of her own, called Transphobic tripe, again, which she directs at a substantially frown-inducing Dominion Post article.
Ursa of Smile… It confuses people writes Clueless, on something about which I frequently wonder: how on earth do the people who put together gossip magazines think body scrutiny is a good move?
It’s Barbaric to pretend violence against women isn’t our problem to solve. Because violence against women doesn’t just happen elsewhere, and neither is it an import of migrants.
Say! Are you a male public figure who didn’t like what a female journalist had to say about you? Maybe the appropriate thing to do is discuss how she needs a good shag to put her right. What? I don’t even… says Rebecca of bluebec.com. the news with nipples adds, If Dermott Brereton and Ricky Nixon make dickheads of themselves and no journalists report it, will people stop caring about what they have to say?
Amanda has a powerful guest post at The Hand Mirror on The War on Women, and exactly how women are going to be affected by the latest cuts in New Zealand’s welfare system.
stargazer critiques a news story about those scary ethnic minority types coming in to change the New Zealand constitution! Sharia law! Polygamy! Sandra of Letters from Wetville has something to add with Dire dangerous dumb things from the Sunday Star Times.

Things that made me nod vigorously
Fire Fly has a rundown on What is cultural appropriation at The Long Way Home. ‘What’s being appropriated in *cultural appropriation* isn’t the things themselves — the images, stories, artefacts, themes, etc. — it’s the capacity of people of oppressed groups to determine the meaning, scope, usage, and future of those things.’
In People of colour decolonisation hui, Ruth DeSouza reports on the Decolonise Your Minds! Hui that took place on 5 February in Tamaki Makaurau. She summarises her own talk, which makes some really important points about how the violences of normativity impact healthcare, especially for women of colour.
Robyn Oyeniyi at Love Versus Goliath gives us the info on the new Amnesty International Report on Australian Detention Centres and smashes some myths.

That is the end of this edition of the Down Under Feminists Carnival. I do hope you enjoyed it. Give me a yell if you want to volunteer for a forthcoming edition, and details are as ever at the carnival website. The forty-seventh edition is planned for 5 April and will be hosted by Ariane at Ariane’s little world. Submissions to ariane [at] m8s [dot] org for those who can’t access blogcarnival. The form’s still not working properly, so I can forward Ariane the submissions if you’re going to use it, or else go ahead and email her (and I’d appreciate being cc’d at chally [dot] zeroatthebone [at] gmail [dot] com, cheers).