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

Welcome to the 87th Down Under Feminists Carnival! As this edition’s host and the carnival’s coordinator, I am so pleased to be a part of this monthly community initiative in which we share the best of New Zealand’s and Australia’s online feminist writing. We need volunteers to host the carnival from October onwards. If you’d like to share in the love, please leave a comment below or contact me at chally.zeroatthebone [at] gmail [dot] com. It’s not hard and it’s always interesting! I would know, this is my sixth time hosting.

This is a relatively short carnival as I personally have had what we might conservatively describe as an absolutely rubbish month, on account of the fact that I spent a chunk of it in hospital. In What not to say to someone in hospital, part one, you can read about how social attitudes and the pressure on women to be nice made my experience that much worse. I hope, if you’re sick, you take some pointers from the post on how to stand up for yourself at a time when you really shouldn’t have to.


Rachel Hills has been having a rather better time, as her book, The Sex Myth, has been launched! I have been following Rachel’s work on perceptions versus the reality of our sex lives for years, so I’m pretty pumped to read it. Scarlett Harris interviewed her for Junkee in Rachel Hills On Asexuality, ‘The Sex Myth’, And Why Female Masturbation Is Still A Taboo. Rachel expands on her ideas more in the Sydney Morning Herald in Call me, maybe: The sex myth of generation Y. Get excited.

Speaking of books, Ana Stevenson is doing the Australian Women Writers challenge. Her latest review is of Frances M. Clarke’s War Stories: Suffering and Sacrifice in the Civil War North (2011). Dr Clarke is, in my opinion, one of Australia’s most interesting and sensitive historians, whose work on the US Civil War has transnational resonances. I have always loved her work on gender and sexuality, so she’s definitely work checking out.

A.J. Fitzwater at Pickled Think would like you to know that “Daughters of Frankenstein” has landed! This ‘collection of stories and essays is all about women taking the power and running with it’. Get to it.

Liz and Steph at No Award present No Award Reads: The Courier’s New Bicycle by Kim Westwood (2011), which is an in depth conversation about an Australian dystopic spec fic book with some complicated politics.

Liz also writes No Award leaves the house: #loveOzYA at Readings, about a Readings Hawthorn panel discussion titled Where’s OzYA going right, and where’s it going wrong? There is so much great discussion about the industry and diversity and teenagers!

On the screen

At Overland, Eliora Avraham declares that Everything you have ever seen about trans women is bullshit. She writes, ‘The history of the representation of transgender women onscreen is not a history at all, because it does not even represent the group ostensibly being shown.’

Scarlett Harris has been checking out the new television series about Caitlyn Jenner and is feeling positive about it. Writing at Spook Magazine, she argues that I Am Cait might just change the way we see reality TV.

Sarah Wilson at Writehanded says Stop the screaming cornpops, regarding the proliferation of the minions characters for nefarious purposes. ‘Their likeness has been stolen to legitimise bigoted opinions and frame violence as harmless fun.’

At Hoyden About Town, Mindy posts a review of Jurassic World, for your feminist information.

Help a dreamer out

You can Help Tiara Attend School for Poetic Computation! Here’s some information:

I am super excited to have found the School for Poetic Computation, because most of my interests can finally come together: training in technical skills, from an artistic point of view, looking at ways to create a better world with our work. I especially want to bring a stronger feminist, queer, genderqueer, anti-racist, intersectional angle into tech, and I feel like tackling it in a creative way will be extremely effective.

[…]I am looking for funding to help me get to the Fall 2015 semester, especially since I will be coming from overseas to participate, and currently rely on freelance/part-time income and family support to get by. The School has generously provided a work-study scholarship to help them with administration and documentation, and I’d like help in covering other costs.

Tiara’s not the only one heading for an education. See Me; rn by Ebs of The Travelling Unicorn:

Approximately eighteen days ago I found out that I was accepted into grad school at the City University of New York.[…] In spite of my half-assed attempt to make the funder happen, I’ve raised over $1400 AUD so far which is heartening. It’s truly a blessing to have people believe in you and your desire to do something empowering for other people.

Without sounding too idealistic I do really want to continue to do good things for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. I do want to diversify the dialogue and conversation and hell, after navigating this crazy world of attempting to better myself through overseas study, want to create more opportunities for other First Nations people.


At Hoyden About Town, Anna profiles Friday Hoyden: Bree Newsome. ‘A few days ago, in a classic activist act, filmmaker and musician Bree Newsome used a climbing harness to scale the flagpole outside the South Carolina State Capitol building and remove the Confederate flag that flies there.’ Amazing. Speaking of which, at No Award, Steph writes Racism: win a prize for best dressed about That Incident at the Beef Breeders dinner, because racism feeds transnationally and Australia is in the most bizarre racist moment (like it isn’t always).

Rebecca Shaw, writing at SBS, quips that Maybe you don’t like same-sex marriage – but you’re going to like irrelevancy even less. Beautiful.

At her own blog, Rebecca writes Science and Facts, a hilarious take on a fairly terrible sex education pamphlet that was distributed to Victorian public school students by a megachurch. In The Guardian, Van Badham has a righteously furious take on the same topic in Girls who have sex are like tape that loses its stickiness. Seriously? That phrase unfortunately does take me back to my high school days.

Over at Women’s Agenda, Jane Gilmore delivers a solid analysis of the gendered pay gap in Think 18.6% is a bad pay gap? Try 52%. ‘Why do we assume that the only way to talk about the gender pay gap is to compare full time earnings? If women are so disproportionally represented outside the full time earning category then isn’t that relevant to the pay gap discussion? And, in that case, isn’t it time that we started talking about the pay gap being more than 50% in Australia?’

Good advice

At Daily Life, Amy Middleton provides some advice on How to graciously deal with being ‘called out’ online. ‘A bit of patience where possible, and a bucketload of compassion always, are good foundations for progress.’

Calling all women: Kath at Fat Heffalump is handing out some sweet truth in The Competition is a Lie. ‘I want to let you in on a little secret. Judging other women will not fix your bad self esteem.’

The “why do we have to state the obvious?” section

At Oyster Mag, Lucy Jones presents the stunning revelation that Body Image Activist Caitlin Stasey Doesn’t Always Want To Pose Nude (Duh). Caitlin, who has previously posed naked on her own website and on her own terms, has said that Fairfax pulled a story from Good Weekend after she refused to take her clothes off for a shoot.

Jennifer Wilson at No Place for Sheep writes Tony Abbott: the human face of evil. ‘What other liberal democratic government threatens professionals with imprisonment if they speak out about human rights abuses, including the sexual abuse of children, violence against women, and ill-treatment of people who are not criminals, not terrorists, and are in a situation of absolute helplessness and vulnerability.’

Catherine Bouris takes to Daily Life to state what should be obvious: My bisexuality isn’t a ‘phase’.

‘”Men’s rights activists” are not fighting for rights and equality. I’m sick of being polite about them, using their language and having to re-prove, over and over again, that sexist oppression exists. Sexist Protectors of Extra Rights for Men want to always be the centre of attention, setting all the rules, having all their needs met, being the only voices heard. Enough. Let’s take it back.’ That’s the powerful argument by LudditeJourno at The Hand Mirror in The evolution of Male Chauvinist Pig to SPERM.


One of my favourite posts this month was In the half-light by Julie at The Hand Mirror, about the first weeks of her child’s life in the NICU.

Emily at Mama Said offers a poem for her little ones, Karakia, which is hilarious/lovely.

Thank you so much for reading this carnival. If you’d like to contribute in future, you can submit a post, whether your own or someone else’s. The next edition of the Down Under Feminists Carnival is planned for 5 September, 2015, and will be hosted by Ju Transcendancing at The Conversationalist. Submissions to transcendancing [at] gmail [dot] com.

Otherwise, write something fabulous – I’m looking at you, New Zealand, you’ve been quiet recently. Volunteer to host (check the first paragraph to see how). And read, always read! See the Down Under Feminists Carnival homepage for more information.