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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 93rd 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 in April, May, June, July, August, and from November onwards. Check out the future carnivals schedule. 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!

Disability discussion

Lauredhel had a wish to attend what turned out to be the Perth Bipedal Writers Festival. She writes about the difficulties of trying to get any useful information about accessibility, as apparently the ‘afterthoughtiest afterthought there ever was’.

Naomi Chainey says Stop appropriating the language that explains my condition, on the proliferation of the spoons analogy amongst people who don’t have chronic illnesses. +1 from me here.

At Gimpled, Sam Connor writes that It’s Time to Have a Conversation: ‘It is time to have a national conversation about hate speech and disability vilification, because societal attitudes have an impact upon both hate crimes and our reactions to them.’ On an adjacent topic, she writes Damien Little and Geoff Hunt were not ‘good blokes’. But who are the perpetrators we are NOT talking about? Parents who kill their disabled children routinely get a free pass.

Sam also writes A Man Stood Up Out of His Wheelchair After a Roger Federer Miracle Shot, which is a really good breakdown of a lot of tropes around wheelchair use.

Over at Daily Life, Jax Jacki Brown writes about #SayTheWord: Why I’m reclaiming the word ‘disabled’. There are several perspectives from various activists, which I appreciated.

A wealth of misogyny in Australian public life

Rebecca Shaw, writing for SBS, presents Comment: Why this week’s mansplaining made me happy to be a lesbian: ‘During times like this I start to think that I am perhaps lucky to be a lesbian, as I don’t have to navigate what seems like the more complex world that heterosexual women inhabit’.

Tapping into some of the same Australian political events Rebecca discusses, Lauren Rosewarne at Overland writes What it feels like for a girl: Dutton and Briggs remind us of politics’ endemic sexism. ‘I’m fascinated by just how ready we are to dub the spotlighting of sexism as “whinging” and to claim that there are bigger fish to fry, larger problems to worry about and more important issues to devote time, money and column inches to.’

Paula Matthewson, writing at The Drum, offers an in depth take on the political context of the issue in Victim blaming takes the Briggs debacle from bad to worse.

Kate Galloway, at her eponymous blog, writes On witches, taking a very thoughtful look at the cases for and against reading Peter Dutton’s comment about journalist Samantha Maiden as sexist. Kate also offers some practical background and advice concerning workplace sexual harassment and professional boundaries in her post Boundaries.

Rebecca Shaw, at her blog Brocklesnitch, posts *crickets* about the sexual harrassment reporter Mel McLaughlin faced on camera from cricketer Chris Gayle. She writes: ‘Women in any industry should be able to go to work without having to wonder if they will be made to feel uncomfortable by a man that day. If you are someone who will never have this kind of thing happen to you […] you do not get to tell Mel McLaughlin how she should react.’

Gabrielle Jackson presents Enough platitudes and excuses: here is the truth about this week of sexism at The Guardian. Writing about Briggs, Dutton, and Gayle, she spells out exactly where the line is.

Speaking of professionalism…

At the Conversation, go read Female doctors in Australia are hitting glass ceilings – why? The answer authors Helen Dickinson and Marie Bismark propose are ‘barriers around perceptions of capability, capacity and credibility’.

Erin Riley, at The Guardian, writes What the debate around Triple J’s Hottest 100 misses about privilege. ‘One of the most common things I have been told over the last 48 hours is that I should focus on more important things. But stories are important: they inform how we understand ourselves and each other. Valuing stories by and about women is an essential step towards a more equitable society.’


Kelly at thekooriwoman has had to talk to her children about how to interact with police. ‘If you are reading this you may be assuming the police would only be speaking to my children if they have done something wrong. This couldn’t be further from the truth’. Read more in Justice?

As ever, Emily at Mama Said has some lovely parenting writing. Read When time stands still: ‘How is it possible that minutes feel like days but a year is gone in a minute?’ Also see The tiny big promises: ‘I made promises to my babies as I carried them and then as those first pains of labour started I promised again, and then when I held them in my arms I cried as I swore to them that I’d keep these promises.’

thaliakr at Sacraparental posts Stop being sexist. Start being kind. It’s not that hard. It’s about the responses to that ridiculous NZ TV Guide letter about the shocking presence of pregnant women on television.

26 January reflections

At Eureka Street, Celeste Liddle writes Downsizing numbers can’t silence Indigenous protests: ‘I challenge the mainstream media to actually stop and investigate what is unfolding right in front of them. I challenge them to walk among the cheering masses, to talk to the participants about why they are there, and to find out why a non-Indigenous person who wouldn’t have even thought of marching for Indigenous rights this time last year now feels compelled to do so’.

At Opinions @ bluebec.com, Rebecca collects ‘some great writing from Indigenous people about racism, Invasion Day, and survival’ in Invasion Day.

In 2016 Australia Day Honours – Another Sausage Fest, Rebecca of Opinions @ bluebec.com presents a data post concerning the gender breakdown of the latest round of Australia Day Honours.

Social norms

At Overland, Eliora Avraham discusses the social precarity of trans people, who ‘have been, and continue to be, ventriloquised by a vast array of self-declared experts,’ and how to change it. Have a read of Transgender justice.

At Art and Analysis, Avril E Jean takes us through some of the Social Norms that Teach Women their Place, from the narrative about angelic little girls to the old ball and chain rubbish.

LudditeJourno at The Hand Mirror wants to talk about marginalisation, safety, and discrimination, not just equality. Head over to read Divorcing equality.

Popular culture

Liz Barr has a review up at No Award of Ready for This, an Indigenous teen drama on the ABC that ticked a lot of boxes.

At The Hand Mirror, LudditeJourno writes about David Bowie’s fraught legacy and ‘those social contexts which make meaningful consent unlikely if not impossible’ in Bowie’s Entitlement and grief.

Scarlett Harris has a Jessica Jones review up at Bitch Flicks as well as a Suffragette review.

As it’s the start of the year, let’s end with a great reflective piece on the year gone:

At Rantings of an Aboriginal Feminist, Celeste Liddle recognises those 2015 moments of significance for Aboriginal women, from the achievements to the trials. Have a read of Aboriginal women in 2015.

Thank you for reading and to those who submitted posts. The Ninety-Fourth Edition is planned for 5 March, 2016: Rebecca at Opinions @ bluebec.com. Submissions to rebecca [dot] dominguez [at] gmail [dot] com. Please submit posts and/or volunteer to host a carnival – it’s a great way to discover amazing writers and support the community.