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Welcome to the 77th Down Under Feminists Carnival, in which we share and celebrate September’s feministish writing from around New Zealand and Australia. I am your host, Chally, and also the carnival coordinator. I would like to thank Mary and Rebecca in particular for their range of submissions. Remember that you can submit your own posts, and those of other writers, or both! If you would like to host a carnival yourself, and you’d be very welcome, leave a comment or email me at chally.zeroatthebone [at] gmail [dot] com and be sure to check out the carnival homepage.

Literary pursuits

Let’s start with a long and gorgeous one which must have taken a whole lot of research time, Stephanie Lai’s essay called Sympathy for Lady Vengeance: Feminist Ghosts and Monstrous Women of Asia. Stephanie asks ‘are monstrous women being punished? Or is becoming monstrous part of their strength, giving them the power to break free of society’s strictures and enabling them to have the power and independence that their patriarchal society has prevented them from wielding until they became monstrous?’

Here’s a cool thing: the Australian Women Writers Challenge blog has been having a focus on Australian Women Writers with Disability. In fact, Jessica White has compiled a list of Australian women writers with disability, which you may well find of interest. A couple of pieces were nominated, and here they are: Jessica White’s The Consolations of Deafness (a seriously gripping read; I now have to read Jessica’s novels) and a Q&A with Kate Richards, who talks writing, difference, and mental illness with Jessica.

Sarah Wilson at Writehanded writes Who’s afraid of the F-word?, which is in response to having just read Virginia Woolf’s A Room of One’s Own.

At beyond escapism, by zhenya, A short story review: ‘When it Changed’ by Joanna Russ, which is one of my favourite short stories, actually. She also writes Book review: The Other Wind by Ursula Le Guin, the fifth book in Le Guin’s magnificent Earthsea fantasty series.

Presents, futures, and pasts of diverse genders and sexualities

Jo Qualmann has a guest post at Mamamia called This is what it’s like to live a life with no sex. It’s about Jo’s personal experiences as an asexual person.

At salgoldsaidso, Sal Gold shares the text of a conference presentation she gave last year on what a future, more inclusive Australia might look like for intersex, trans, and gender diverse people. It put a smile on my face, so check it out: Back…to the Future: speech at Health in Difference 18 April 2013.

At Oh, Sarah-Rose, Sarah-Rose tells us What I learned from my [first] year as a lesbian, and it’s lovely.

What’s feminism again?

Here’s “My” feminism from Sarah Wilson of Writehanded, which details Sarah’s journey from not really knowing what feminism is to finding some commonalities to developing a trans-inclusionary, compassionate approach to her feminism. Yay!

Here’s the latest from Sikamikanico at Sikamikanico Blogs: On Women Against Feminism and how the tweeters on that hashtag could benefit from learning some context and solidarity. It’s vital to acknowledge that ‘we’ve got a long way to go, that’s it’s not all about you, and start looking for ways you can help’. Some readers may wish to be aware that there’s a gif image towards the top of the post.

Scarlett Harris at The Scarlett Woman ponders enjoying sexist pop culture while feminist in Bad Feminist: All of My Favourite Songs Are By Men.

Women and the Internet

At Daily Life, in This is why you shouldn’t click on the naked photos of Jennifer Lawrence, Clementine Ford offers some lessons on the recent mass celebrity photo hacking incident – that is, lessons for the public, not finger wagging towards the victims. Meanwhile, Scarlett at The Scarlett Woman wants a switch up in how we treat such so-called scandals, because women’s bodies are not scandalous. Read all about it in We All Have Naked Bodies. Jennifer Lawrence is No Different.

Amy Gray, writing at The King’s Tribune, delivers a piece called Lewis’ Law and online misogyny, on the outrageousness of women having opinions on the Internet and the price we pay for it. On the same topic, and with specific attention to the horrific treatment directed at Anita Sarkeesian, Jessamy Gleeson at The Conversation presents Vitriolic abuse of Anita Sarkeesian: why the games industry needs her. Rebecca at Opinions @ bluebec.com contributes Disproportionate retribution, which dismantles the “both sides are equally at fault” fallacy. (The clip Rebecca includes is from the live debate episode of The West Wing, in which the Republican presidential candidate baits the Democratic candidate about negative associations with the word “liberal” and the Democratic candidate argues that he will wear that label as a badge of honour.)

Finally, a positive one. At Geek Feminism, Mary interviews Alex Skud Bayley about Growstuff in Growstuff: food gardening, open data and extreme programming the geek feminism way. Growstuff is a collaborative open source project involving a lot of women, and helps people share localised and useful knowledge about sustainably growing their own food. Growstuff is running a fundraising campaign, so get on it.

How to behave and how to be

Speaking of women with opinions on the Internet, Kath at Fat Heffalump wants you to know that she’s not going to be demure and sweet just because that’s what’s expected of women. Head on over to read Sugar and Spice and All Things Nice? I Think Not.

And speaking of performing to social expectations (or not), Rebecca of Opinions @ bluebec.com shares My feels, and why I don’t really talk about them, about how childhood experiences have an impact on her present expression of emotion.

Jay at days like crazy paving has some wonderful, compassionate advice for a young Muslim woman who is struggling with the right approach to a problem she’s having around faith, family, and dress. Here’s Reader Question (is this becoming a pattern?) – being yourself when the world doesn’t want you to be.


At Curl, Kate Galloway writes Terror: abstract and embodied, about how and why the Australian authorities have responded to the threat of terrorism with a seriousness they have yet to extend to violence against women.

Stella Young hits it out of the park at The Drum with Disability and murder: victim blaming at its very worst. She examines how disability is used in media narratives in order to mitigate domestic violence.

At The Age, Miki Perkins reports on increasingly poor Australian societal attitudes around sexual assault in One in five say drunk women partly to blame for rape, survey finds. Kristin Diemer with Kim Webster report at The Conversation on the same VicHealth survey in Australians still trivialise and excuse violence against women.

Jane Gilmore, writing at The King’s Tribune, offers Sex work and stereotypes, which concerns the death of Tracy Connelly in Melbourne and the persistent dehumanisation of sex workers that positions them as inherent victims.

Julie at The Hand Mirror writes The secrets that we keep, about how ‘Silence enables abuse to continue. Yet speaking out is not without cost, not least for those who have already suffered.’

Jessica Hammond pens A letter to my hero, Richard Dawkins, who she takes to task over consent and rape culture.


At Poor Stevie, Stevie herself reflects on what she’s learned in her first year of motherhood in 365. It’s pretty great.

Shae at Free Range in Suburbia has some very worthwhile insights on How feminism influences my parenting.

Stephanie at No Award writes a family situation of dementia, which is about spreading not only awareness, but understanding.

Diverse appearances = okay

Carly Findlay at Tune into Radio Carly presents Lads’ mags and nude films. A lesson in appearance diversity. It’s about different commercial representations of nudity, and how they can invite or exclude difference. Carly also has another piece called The SCAR Project. On beauty. It’s about the beauty to be found in difference.

At Daily Life, Ruby Hamad has a great, thorough piece on The trouble with Jacqui Lambie’s anti-burqa campaign. Please note that there’s an autoplaying video embedded in the start of the article.

Kath at Fat Heffalump had a positive shopping experience while fat on a recent trip to Newcastle. What is this?! Read Shopping As It Should Be to learn how this was accomplished, and perhaps you yourself can follow Kath’s lead and access respectful customer service.

New Idea misattributed some self-critical body-related comments to the happily and publicly fat Chrissie Swan. At SBS, Rebecca Shaw writes “Repulsive” Chrissie Swan miquotes off the scale. ‘Nothing confuses people more than the idea of a fat woman who doesn’t spend every waking moment hating her body – who in fact loves her body (shock horror) because we are told over and over from an early age that we shouldn’t.’

Also in Australian television news, Mrs Woog of Woog’s World wants us all to get #comfywomfy. You can use that tag on photos of yourself on social media in which you are going about your day in comfortable clothes, a sensible action which is apparently something for which Samantha Armytage apparently needs to be publicly ridiculed. Because Samantha Armytage and all the rest of us should be able to go down the shops without worrying about getting shamed for wearing comfortable clothes, and we should be able to control how images of same are received.

Women at work

Jane Caro gives us a two for one opinion piece at The New Daily with New mums shouldn’t be fair game. It’s about the doubt directed at new mothers who want to continue their careers and it’s also about how frequently that doubt comes from the limited number of “chick spots” available for women in senior positions.

Also regarding the workplace, Michelle Brown at The Conversation argues that To close the gender pay gap we need to end pay secrecy, because legislation alone is not enough.

Here’s another piece from Rebecca Shaw at SBS entitled Women and sport – more than “just” cheerleaders. Writing about the devaluation of women in sport, she says that ‘women are talented athletes in their own right, and that they do not exist solely to be WAGs or exploited cheerleaders, sexual conquests to impress teammates, or domestic violence victims to be ignored’.

Deborah of A Bee of a Certain Age recently ran in the New Zealand general election. She’s run the stats on the political representation of women and you can read her findings in Women in the House – some numbers from the 2014 election.

I’ve run out of the capacity to categorise at this point

Here’s GP co-payments are an education issue by highlyeccentric, writing at the Australian Medievalists blog. Just a few of the ways in which changes to Australia’s Medicare system are going to have significant run on effects.

Here at Zero at the Bone, I wrote Unpleasantly pleasant surprises, which concerns how disconcerting it is to be surprised when you are a woman interacting with respectful men while you have been conditioned to expect being treated like garbage or a sex object.

At The Daily Dot, I wrote 4 ways to fix Doctor Who before it’s too late, which is largely about how Doctor Who has become a bit of a storytelling and gender mess and how it might get back from that. Fairly innocuous, you would think, but I have received some violent reader feedback! Defensive fanboys, always the most charming.

Here’s Women’s property – the case for ambitious change from Kate Galloway at Curl, on property law reform and the feminisation of poverty.

I wanted to finish with this final note from Shae at Freerange in Suburbia, Live Louder. ‘Know that boldly being yourself inspires others to do the same.’ Yes!

That’s all for this time. I hope you enjoyed it. Do promote it to your networks as all these writers deserve to be heard widely. I’d particularly like more submissions from New Zealand bloggers and their readers, so do send in your blog posts to the next host, who is Mindy at Hoyden About Town. Submissions to dufcathat [at] gmail [dot] com for those who can’t access the blogcarnival submissions form (and you probably won’t be able to access it, sigh, we’re working on an alternative). Again, if you would like to host a carnival yourself, and you’d be very welcome, leave a comment or email me at chally.zeroatthebone [at] gmail [dot] com and be sure to check out the carnival homepage.